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Say goodbye to the waning moon on June 25


Tonight for June 24, 2014

If you’re up early enough on the morning of June 25, 2014, you might see the two major signposts in the constellation Taurus the Bull – the Pleiades star cluster and the bright red star Aldebaran – in the same part of the sky as the waning moon. Find an unobstructed horizon toward the east, the direction of sunrise. You’ll surely see brilliant planet Venus shining in the eastern predawn sky. Bring along your binoculars in case you need them for the Pleiades, the star Aldebaran and the thin waning crescent moon.

After this, when will you see the moon again? It’ll take exceptional sky conditions to spot the moon on the morning of June 26, although, in fact, it’ll still be in the morning sky. New moon will come on June 27 at 8:08 UTC (3:08 a.m. CST). On the day of new moon, the moon will travel across the sky with the sun during the day, and in the days after that, the moon will return to our evening sky. Watch for it in the west after sunset around June 28.

We in the Northern Hemisphere tend to associate the constellation Taurus with the winter season, when it’s visible as soon as darkness falls. During our winter months, as seen from the Southern Hemisphere, this constellation counts as a fixture of summer. Every year, around the December solstice – the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice and the Southern Hemisphere summer solstice – Taurus is seen pretty much all night long. Some six months from now, Taurus will shine in the east at nightfall, swing high overhead around 10 to 11 p.m. and then sit low in the west in the predawn darkness.

Taurus? Here’s your constellation

The June solstice brought summer to the Northern Hemisphere and winter to the Southern Hemisphere on June 21. And you can catch your first glimpses of a Northern Hemisphere winter (Southern Hemisphere summer) sky – ever so briefly – in the east before sunrise around the time of the June solstice. Watch for these stars: the Pleiades star cluster close to Venus, and the star Aldebaran by the slender waning crescent moon in the wee morning hours on June 25.

Bottom line: You might catch the waning crescent moon, Pleaides star cluster and star Aldebaran before dawn on June 25. Look east. You’ll surely see the bright planet Venus shining in that direction before dawn. New moon will come on June 27. Afterwards, say hello to the waxing crescent moon around June 28, in the west after sunset!

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