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Tonight

Watch for Mercury before dawn in late June

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Mercury, the innermost planet of the solar system, is often obscured by the sun’s glare. That’s why you sometimes hear it called the most elusive planet. But you have a chance to see Mercury before dawn now. That’s because the planet is at its greatest western (morning) elongation from the sun on June 24, 2015.

Closest far-moon of 2015 on June 23

Last night's moon - June 22, 2015 - as captured by Patrick Casaert of La Lune The Moon.

Last night’s moon – June 22, 2015 – as captured by Patrick Casaert of La Lune The Moon.

June has the distinction of having the closest far-moon in all of 2015. What, what, what? Closest far-moon. In other words, on June 23, 2015, the moon reaches apogee – its most distant point from Earth for the month. But the moon is closer at this month’s apogee than at any other apogee in 2015.

Sun moves in front of Gemini on June 22

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At yesterday’s solstice, the sun was in front of the constellation Taurus the Bull. Today, the sun moves in front of the constellation Gemini the Twins.

Solstice at 16:38 UTC on June 21, 2015

A compilation of links to info about the 2015 June solstice. Happy summer or winter, y’all!

Everything you need to know: June solstice 2015

Sunset via EarthSky Facebook friend Lucy Bee in Dallas.

Sunset via EarthSky Facebook friend Lucy Bee in Dallas.

It’s that beautiful time of year again in the N. Hemisphere, when the June solstice – your signal to celebrate summer – is upon us. Early dawns. Long days. Late sunsets. Short nights. Look inside for more.

Superb moon, Venus, Jupiter June 19-21

Watch for the moon to swing by Jupiter on June 20 and Regulus on June 21. The green line depicts the ecliptic - the annual pathway of the sun through the constellations of the Zodiac.

Watch for the moon to swing by Jupiter on June 20 and the star Regulus on June 21. The green line depicts the ecliptic – the annual pathway of the sun through the constellations of the Zodiac.

Don’t miss the extravaganza after sunset on June 19, 20 and 21, as the moon and the planets Venus and Jupiter light up the western sky.

June solstice brings northernmost sun

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We use the beautiful photo above in honor of the upcoming June solstice – June 21 at 16:38 Universal time (5:51 a.m. Central Daylight Time). At North American time zones, that places the solstice at 12:38 p.m. EDT, 11:38 a.m. CDT,10:38 a.m. MDT and 9:38 a.m. PDT. The photo is from one of our favorite sky photographers, Dan Bush.

Young moon, Venus, Jupiter on June 18

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Tonight – June 18, 2015 – look west after sunset to see the young crescent moon beneath the sky’s brightest and second-brightest planets: Venus and Jupiter. They’ll be the first three celestial bodies to pop out at evening dusk. For many people around the globe, June 18 will feature the first appearance of the young moon in the evening sky.

Crescent moon and Ramadan on June 17

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Starting at sunset on June 17, Muslims around the world will be looking for the new crescent moon, or young crescent to return to the evening sky. Its sighting ushers in the Holy Month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year.

But since the Moon will be so close to the horizon and will set so soon after sunset, the moon’s sighting on this date is by no means assured. If it isn’t seen this evening, the start of Ramadan will wait until the evening of June 18. Ramadan, the month of fasting from dawn till sunset, continues until the appearance of next month’s new crescent moon.

Is Zubeneschamali green?

In summer 2014, the planet Saturn lies within the constellation Libra, near its brightest stars.

In summer 2014, the planet Saturn lies within the constellation Libra, near its brightest stars.

Zubeneschamali, aka Beta Librae, is the brightest star in the constellation Libra the Scales. It’s just a touch brighter than the other bright star in Libra, called Zubenelgenubi. The incomparable Burnham’s Celestial Handbook quotes the star enthusiast Willian Tyler Olcott, who refers to this star as “… the only naked-eye star that is green in color.” Some other stargazers agree. Others don’t. If, indeed, Zubeneschamali is truly green in color, it’s the only green star among the bright stars in the sky. Follow the links inside to learn more about this star.