Stargazing events of interest for June 2015

June is named after Roman goddess Juno, wife of Jupiter. Juno is known as a protector and special counselor of the state. She is associated with the Greek goddess Hera. June is the sixth month of the year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars and one of the four months with a length of 30 days. June is the month with the longest daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest daylight hours in the Southern Hemisphere.

This month’s full moon is most commonly known as the Strawberry Moon or Rose Moon. The first crop of strawberries is picked in June and roses are in full bloom in June. Another common name is the Honey Moon. Pagan June weddings were celebrated by drinking a fermented beverage (called Mead) made from honey, hence Honey Moon and the origin of the word "Honeymoon".  Others include the Stockman’s Moon, Hot Moon, Mead Moon, Moon of Horses, Lovers' Moon, Strong Sun Moon and Dyad Moon. Dyad is an old world term for pair. It is believe the pair refers to the Moon and Sun being of equal in importance in June. One of the more interesting names, the Adulterous Moon, comes from Blackfoot Native American tribe. The Taos call it, “The Corn Tassel Appear Moon”.

•    Full Moon: June 2
•    Last Quarter Moon: June 9
•    Closest from Earth: June 10 (229,728 super-size Moon)            
•    New Moon:  June 16 
•    First Quarter Moon: June 23
•    Farthest to Earth: June 25 (251,116 miles mini-size Moon) 

Planets Visible:
•    Evening:
o    Venus: look west, the brightest object
o    Jupiter: look west the bright “star” upper left of Venus
o    Saturn: look southeast to south the highest of two bright stars above horizon
•    Morning: Mercury look east 30 minutes before sunrise low on the horizon in the last week of the month   
•    Mars is behind the Sun

•    June 21: The Sun enters the astrological sign Cancer
•    June 22: The Sun enters the astronomical constellation Gemini 

•    June 13: The equation of time is 0. Sundials (which show apparent solar time) need no correction for local mean time. 
•    June 21:  The Summer Solstice occurs at 10:28am MDT. There will be 14 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds of daylight.  
•    No significant meteor activity this month
Special Events:
•    All month: Evening look west. Watch Venus, the brightest “star” in the western sky move toward Jupiter, the bright object above and left of Venus. The two will be very close to each other on June 30, a must see event.  
•    June 1: Evening look southeast. See a near full moon in the constellation Scorpius the scorpion will be just below and left of Saturn in the constellation Libra the scales. 
•    June 18: Spring equinox on Mars, Northern Hemisphere.
•    June 19: Evening look west. See a thin crescent moon below Venus. Both the Moon and Venus are in the constellation Cancer the crab.
•    June 20: Evening looking west. Look for a crescent moon to the left of Jupiter (upper) and Venus (lower). Both the Moon and Jupiter are in the constellation Leo the lion. 
•    June 21: Evening look west. A crescent moon will be left of the brightest star in Leo, Regulus.
•    June 25: Evening look southwest. The Moon will be above the star Spica. Both the Moon and Spica are in the constellation Virgo.
•    June 27: Chamberlin Observatory Open House weather permitting. The observatory’s 20” telescope and telescopes belonging to members of the Denver Astronomical Society will be available for viewing. Click here for more information.   
•    June 28: Evening look south. A gibbous moon will be next to Saturn. Both the Moon and Saturn are in the constellation of Libra the scales. 
•    June 30: Evening looking west. Look for Venus (lower & brighter) and Jupiter (upper) very close together. So close they are within a moon’s diameter. Both should be easily visible together in binoculars and small telescopes. If you have a camera, try taking a picture or two. These events, called conjunctions, are common, but being this close is a relatively rare event. Such an event took place on June 17, 2 BC. Jupiter and Venus were so close they would have appeared as one very bright star (8 to 10 thousand year event). This event is one of the possible astronomical explanations for the Star of Bethlehem.  

Historical Trivia:
•    June 19, 1976: NASA probe and lander Viking 1 arrives at Mars. 
•    June 24, 2004: First private spaceflight on Space Ship One piloted by Mike Melvill.

Wishing you clear skies

The Star Spangled Radio Hour

KEZW and our friends at the Glenn Miller Archive at the University of Colorado present the Star Spanged Radio Hour, Saturday night at 6pm.  Rick and Dennis Spragg introduce live big band radio broadcasts from the 30s and 40s that haven't been heard since they originally aired.  It's our time capsule from the big band era and you can only hear it on AM 1430!  Miss a show?  Click here.

Rick's Thought for the Day


Thought 5.29.15

"Don’t confuse your path with your destination.  Just because it’s stormy now doesn’t mean you aren’t headed for sunshine"