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Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of June 2018
The Great Hercules Cluster NGC 6205, also known as M13, contains about a million stars. The cluster is about 150 light years in diameter. As in most globular clusters, the stars held within its gravitational embrace are all very old. This image was obtained with the wide-field view of the Mosaic camera on the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. (Image Credit: T.A. Rector - University of Alaska Anchorage and H. Schweiker - WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF) (Video Credit: NASA and the Office of Public Outreach - STScI)
Welcome to the night sky report for June 2018 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. The warm nights of June are perfect for sky watching. Don’t miss the constellations Bootes (the Herdsman), Corona Borealis (the Northern Crown), and Draco (the Dragon) -- or the planets Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn, all of which grace the night sky this month. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.
Brilliant Venus dominates the western sky at dusk, joined by the crescent moon during the middle of the month. With a backyard telescope, Venus looks like a miniature moon. It is clear that we see only part of the sunlit side of the planet.
Jupiter dominates the southern sky, shining in the dim constellation of Libra, the scales. A backyard telescope readily reveals its cloud bands and orbiting moons.
Saturn rises later in the evening, and on June 27th it comes into opposition. On this night, Saturn lies opposite the Sun in the sky -- at its brightest, rising with the full moon at sunset, and visible throughout the night. During opposition, Saturn is closer to Earth than at any other time of year. Appearing at its largest for the year, its rings and perhaps a faint cloud band or two may be visible with a modest telescope.
High overhead lies Bootes, the Herdsman. Find it by looking for its prominent kite shape, which was noted by many ancient cultures. Arcturus is the fourth-brightest star in the night sky. The star Epsilon Bootis is also known as Izar. In binoculars, Izar resolves into one of the finest double stars in the sky. The color contrast between the stars is striking.
Just to the left of Bootes lies the Northern Crown, Corona Borealis. This lovely circlet of stars represents the wedding crown of Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos of Crete. While the stars are not very bright, their pattern is easy to pick out.
The mythical strongman Hercules is also found high in the summer night sky, wielding his mighty weapons. The constellation is rather dim. Look for its lopsided square of four stars, called the Keystone.
The Keystone in Hercules is the “key” to finding one of the brightest globular star clusters in the summer night sky. The wonderful Hercules Cluster, also known as M13, contains about a million stars. Outside the Keystone lies another magnificent globular cluster of stars, M92. Globular clusters are collections of closely packed, gravitationally bound stars.
Draco, the Dragon, winds his way through the northern sky. The Dragon’s head is a skewed square of stars. Look for the dimmest of the corner stars. In binoculars, it resolves into two stars, which look like a bright pair of headlights.
Mars, shining like a bright, red coal in the constellation Capricornus, rises around midnight. As Mars approaches opposition next month and the distance between it and Earth shrinks, its image grows larger. It may be possible to see large-scale details on the surface.
The night sky is always a celestial showcase. Explore its wonders from your own backyard.
The following Deep Sky Objects are found in constellations that peak during the month. Some can be viewed with a small telescope, but the majority will require a moderate to large telescope. The following is adapted from my personal viewing list: "The Guy Pirro 777 Best and Brightest Deep Sky Objects."
NGC 5248 Galaxy C45, Herschel 400 H34-1
NGC 5466 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H9-6
NGC 5557 Galaxy Herschel 400 H99-1
NGC 5676 Galaxy Herschel 400 H189-1
- NGC 5660 Galaxy Paired with H189-1
NGC 5689 Galaxy Herschel 400 H188-1
Constellation: Corona Borealis
NGC 3147 Galaxy Herschel 400 H79-1
NGC 4125 Galaxy P26
- NGC 4121 Galaxy Paired with P26
NGC 4236 Galaxy C3
NGC 5866 Galaxy M102, Herschel 400 H215-1
NGC 5906 Galaxy Herschel 400 H759-2
NGC 5982 Galaxy Herschel 400 H764-2
NGC 6503 Galaxy P80
NGC 6543 Planetary Nebula C6, Herschel 400 H37-4 Cat’s Eye Nebula
NGC 6832 Open Cluster P27
IC 4593 Planetary Nebula P158 White Eyed Pea Nebula
NGC 6205 Globular Cluster M13 Great Hercules Cluster
NGC 6207 Galaxy Herschel 400 H701-2
NGC 6210 Planetary Nebula P34
NGC 6229 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H50-4
NGC 6341 Globular Cluster M92
NGC 5897 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H19-6
IC 4634 Planetary Nebula P168
IC 4665 Open Cluster P36
NGC 6171 Globular Cluster M107, Herschel 400 H40-6
NGC 6218 Globular Cluster M12
NGC 6235 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H584-2
NGC 6254 Globular Cluster M10
NGC 6266 Globular Cluster M62
NGC 6273 Globular Cluster M19
NGC 6284 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H11-6
NGC 6287 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H195-2
NGC 6293 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H12-6
NGC 6304 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H147-1
NGC 6309 Planetary Nebula P236 Box Nebula
NGC 6316 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H45-1
NGC 6325 Globular Cluster P169
NGC 6333 Globular Cluster M9
NGC 6342 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H149-1
NGC 6355 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H46-1
NGC 6356 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H48-1
NGC 6366 Globular Cluster P37
NGC 6369 Planetary Nebula Herschel 400 H11-4 Little Ghost Nebula
NGC 6401 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H44-1
NGC 6402 Globular Cluster M14
NGC 6426 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H587-2
NGC 6517 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H199-2
NGC 6572 Planetary Nebula P38 Emerald Nebula
NGC 6633 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H72-8
NGC 6093 Globular Cluster M80
NGC 6121 Globular Cluster M4
NGC 6124 Open Cluster C75
NGC 6139 Globular Cluster P53
NGC 6144 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H10-6
NGC 6153 Planetary Nebula P189
NGC 6178 Open Cluster P111
NGC 6192 Open Cluster P190
NGC 6216 Open Cluster P210
NGC 6231 Open Cluster C76
NGC 6242 Open Cluster P54
NGC 6249 Open Cluster P191
NGC 6259 Open Cluster P112
NGC 6268 Open Cluster P192
NGC 6281 Open Cluster P55
NGC 6302 Planetary Nebula C69 Butterfly Nebula
NGC 6318 Open Cluster P249
NGC 6322 Open Cluster P56
NGC 6374 Open Cluster P193
NGC 6383 Open Cluster P57
NGC 6388 Globular Cluster P58
NGC 6396 Open Cluster P194
NGC 6400 Open Cluster P195
NGC 6404 Open Cluster P250
NGC 6405 Open Cluster M6 Butterfly Cluster
NGC 6416 Open Cluster P59
NGC 6425 Open Cluster P113
NGC 6441 Globular Cluster P114
NGC 6451 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H13-6
NGC 6453 Globular Cluster P115
NGC 6475 Open Cluster M7 Ptolemy Cluster
NGC 6496 Globular Cluster P60
Constellation: Serpens Caput
NGC 5904 Globular Cluster M5
NGC 6118 Galaxy Herschel 400 H402-2 Blinking Galaxy
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