WHAT’S UP: NASA Gives Skywatching Tips for June 2020

By  //  June 13, 2020

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WHATS UP IN THE SKY

ABOVE VIDEO: June 2020 Skywatching Tips from NASA.

June 14
On Sunday evening, June 14, at 8:57 PM EDT, the Moon will be at apogee, its farthest from the Earth for this orbit.

June 16
On Tuesday morning, June 16, at about 6:30 AM EDT (2020-Jun-16 10:36 UTC with 22 minutes uncertainty), Near Earth Object (2020 KP6), between 28 and 62 meters (91 to 204 feet) across, will pass the Earth at 3.6 lunar distances, traveling at 10.76 kilometers per second (24,069 miles per hour).

June 18
The longest solar day of the season will be from solar noon on Thursday, June 18, to solar noon on Friday, June 19, lasting about 13 seconds longer than 24 hours. This will not be the longest solar day of the year as some solar days in December will be longer.

June 19
Friday morning, June 19, the thin, waning crescent Moon will appear low on the east-northeastern horizon about half a degree to the lower left of the bright planet Venus. This will be the first morning when Venus will be above the horizon at the time morning twilight begins (at 4:30 AM EDT for the Washington, DC area). The pair may be hard to see, unless you have a very clear view, because as they rise above the obstructions most of us have blocking the horizon, the brightening sky will make viewing more difficult. Further north (e.g., from Boston, MA), the Moon will actually block Venus from view, and viewers from these areas may be able to see Venus reappear from behind the Moon.

June 20
The Summer Solstice, the astronomical end of Spring and start of Summer, will be on Saturday afternoon, June 20, at 5:43 PM EDT. This will be the day with the longest period of daylight (14 hours, 53 minutes, 42 seconds for the Washington, DC area).

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June 21
Early Sunday morning, June 21, at 2:42 AM EDT, will be the new Moon, when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun and is not normally visible. However, the silhouette of the Moon will be visible from much of Africa, southeastern Europe, and Asia, as the Moon passes in front of the Sun, causing an eclipse. Because the Moon is near its farthest from the Earth in its orbit, the Moon will not completely block the Sun, but a narrow stripe from Africa to the Pacific Ocean will see the Moon in front of the Sun (blocking 99.4% of the Sun at its peak in northern India) such that only a bright ring is visible.

The day of or the day after the New Moon marks the start of the new month for most lunisolar calendars. The fifth month of the Chinese calendar starts on Sunday, June 21(at midnight in China’s time zone, which is 12 hours ahead of EDT).

June 21
Sunday evening, June 21, if you have a very clear view of the horizon in the west-northwest, you might be able to see the very thin crescent Moon to the right of the planet Mercury. You will need to look while the sky is still bright with dusk before the Moon and Mercury set (at 9:15 and 9:19 PM EDT, respectively). You may need binoculars to see them. If you do use binoculars, be sure not to look until well after sunset, as using magnifying glasses to focus sunlight into your eyes is bad, bad, bad…

In the Islamic calendar the months start with the first sighting of the waxing crescent Moon after the New Moon. Since we expect the Moon to be visible (at least with a telescope or binoculars), Sunday evening, June 21, will probably mark the beginning of Dhu al-Qadah.

June 22
Sundown on Monday, June 22, marks the start of Tammuz in the Hebrew lunisolar calendar.

Sometime in the latter part of June, 2020, (2020-Jun-22 10:45 UTC with 7 days, 21 hours, 48 minutes uncertainty), Near Earth Object (2008 XB2), between 25 and 57 meters (83 to 186 feet) across, will pass the Earth at between 1.8 and 131.3 lunar distances (nominally 62.5), traveling at 15.85 kilometers per second (35,464 miles per hour).

On Monday evening, June 22, if you have a clear view of the horizon in the west-northwest, you might be able to see the thin, waxing crescent Moon with the bright star Pollux to the upper right. For the Washington, DC area, evening twilight will end around 9:50 PM EDT and the Moon will set just 19 minutes later.

June 25
Thursday, June 25, will be the fifth day of the fifth month of the traditional Chinese calendar, the day of the Dragon Boat Festival. See for example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Boat_Festival for more information.

Sometime towards the end of June, 2020, (2020-Jun-25 14:43 UTC with 5 days, 16 hours, 53 minutes uncertainty), Near Earth Object (2017 FW128), between 8 and 19 meters (28 to 62 feet) across, will pass the Earth at between 3.2 and 12.6 lunar distances (nominally 6.8), traveling at 5.45 kilometers per second (12,187 miles per hour).

On Thursday evening, June 25, the bright star Regulus will appear to the lower right of the waxing crescent Moon. For the Washington, DC area, evening twilight will end at about 9:50 PM EDT and Regulus will set in the west-northwest at about 11:40 PM, with the Moon setting about 34 minutes later.

June 27 – The Latest Sunset of the Year
For Washington, DC and similar latitudes, at least, the latest sunset of the year will be on Saturday evening, June 27 (at 8:37 PM EDT).

June 28-29
On Sunday morning, June 28, the Moon will appear half-full as it reaches its first quarter at 4:16 AM EDT (a time when North America will not be able to see the Moon).

Sometime around midnight between Sunday and Monday, June 28 and 29, (2020-Jun-29 04:13 UTC with 1 hour, 21 minutes uncertainty), Near Earth Object (2020 JX1), between 44 and 99 meters (145 to 324 feet) across, will pass the Earth at 3.3 lunar distances, traveling at 5.00 kilometers per second (11,182 miles per hour).

Monday evening, June 29, at 10:13 PM EDT, the Moon will be at perigee, its closest to the Earth for this orbit.

June 30
Tuesday evening, June 30, the planet Mercury will be passing between the Earth and the Sun as seen from the Earth, called inferior conjunction. Mercury will be shifting from the evening sky to the morning sky and will begin emerging from the glow of dawn on the eastern horizon around July 8 (depending upon viewing conditions).

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