Here are the Moon phases in the Northern hemisphere for June 2011 and other interesting things of note in the sky.
1st June: New Moon
9th June: First Quarter
15th June: Full Moon
23rd June: Last Quarter
The summer solstice in the Northern hemisphere is on 21st June at 17:16 UTC; providing us with the longest day and shortest evening of the year as the Earth’s axial tilt is most steeply inclined towards the Sun.
‘Solstice’ is derived from two Latin words – ‘Sol’ meaning ‘Sun, and ‘sistere’ meaning ‘to stand still’ – and indeed it’s on this day in June that the Sun reaches its highest point in our sky and, to an observer in the Northern hemisphere on Earth, appears to hang there. (The winter solstice takes place on 22nd December at 05:30 UTC and the Sun is at its lowest.)
The lighter nights of summer make stargazing more difficult for all but the hardiest of night owls! Still, there’s a lot to look out for both at night and during the day.
On the 1st June 2011, this should be the view given a clear night looking south just before Midnight:
Saturn remains visible throughout the month in the evening sky within the constellation of Virgo. It’s very close (from our point of view) to the star Porrima which is also known as Gamma Virginis.
You could keep a watchful eye out for the International Space Station (ISS) passing overhead. This NASA site provides real-time data as to it’s position, or you could check-out Heavens Above for information on the ISS and many other satellites and things of interest zooming around overhead!
I love looking at clouds too and highly recommend The Cloud Collector’s Handbook
to record your observations.
You’ll also want to get over to The Cloud Appreciation Society to bask in the beauty of these fluffy bundles of wonder!
If you are lucky you may spot noctilucent clouds over the summer months at around sunset or sunrise. These eerie-looking clouds are found high up in the atmosphere and tend to be seen 50° and 70° North and South of the equator. These ‘night-shining’ clouds seem to be becoming more common and are being studied by NASA’s AIM satellite.