Dates and times shown are NZST (UT + 12 hours) unless otherwise stated. Times are for Wellington. They will vary by a few minutes elsewhere in NZ. Data us adapted from that shown by GUIDE 9.

THE SUN and PLANETS in JUNE 2018, Rise & Set,  Mag. & Cons.
      June  1         NZST          June 30         NZST  
      Mag  Cons    Rise    Set     Mag  Cons    Rise    Set
SUN  -26.7  Tau   7.34am  5.02pm  -26.7  Gem   7.45am  5.03pm
Merc  -1.8  Tau   7.10am  4.43pm   -0.1  Cnc   9.17am  6.50pm
Venus -3.9  Gem  10.16am  7.20pm   -4.1  Leo  10.11am  8.19pm
Mars  -1.2  Cap   8.48pm 11.42am   -2.1  Cap   7.07pm 10.09am
Jup   -2.5  Lib   3.35pm  5.35am   -2.3  Lib   1.34pm  3.31am
Sat    0.2  Sgr   6.44pm  9.43am    0.0  Sgr   4.41pm  7.41am
Uran   5.9  Ari   4.11am  2.59pm    5.8  Ari   2.22am  1.08pm
Nep    7.9  Aqr  12.25am  1.17pm    7.9  Aqr  10.31pm 11.23am
Pluto 14.4  Sgr   7.44pm 10.37am   14.4  Sgr   5.47pm  8.41am

The southern winter solstice is on June 21, with the Sun furthest north at 10 pm.

              June  1  NZST              June 30  NZST
Twilights    morning     evening        morning     evening
Civil:    start 7.06am, end 5.31pm   start 7.16am, end 5.33pm
Nautical: start 6.31am, end 6.06pm   start 6.42am, end 6.07pm
Astro:    start 5.58am, end 6.39pm   start 6.08am, end 6.41pm

  Last quarter   June  7 at  6.32am (June 6,  18:32 UT)
  New moon:      June 14 at  7.43am (June 13, 19:43 UT)
  First quarter: June 20 at 10.51pm (10:51 UT)
  Full Moon:     June 28 at  4.53pm (04:53 UT)

MERCURY is at superior conjunction on June 6, when the planet will be 46.0 million km, 0.308 AU, beyond the Sun. Its distance from the Earth will be 198 million km, 1.322 AU. At conjunction Mercury will be just under half a degree north of the Sun.

Following conjunction Mercury becomes an evening object. By the end Of June it will set 100 minutes after the Sun. With a magnitude -0.1 it should be readily visible by about 6pm. At that time the planet will have an altitude 7° as seen from Wellington. Venus will act as a marker, some 17° away to Mercury's upper right.

VENUS becomes more prominent in the evening sky setting almost 200 minutes after the Sun by the end of the month. On the evening of June 8, the planet will be 4.7° to the upper left of Pollux, magnitude 1.2, with Procyon, mag 0.5, four times as far away on the opposite side of the planet.

The moon will be at its closest to Venus for the month on the 16th Early evening, the thin crescent is to the lower left of Venus.

MARS rises early evening by the end of June. The planet is in Capricornus and is stationary on the 28th. Its apparent motion reverses as the Earth begins to catch with the slower moving red planet.

The moon passes Mars on the evening of the 3rd. The two are at their closest about 10pm when for NZ viewers they will be about 3.5° apart

JUPITER will be well placed for evening viewing throughout June. It is about 15° south of the equator so high in NZ skies. The planet is in Libra, slow moving and less than 1 degree from the binocular double aplha Lib for the first part of June. The brighter star of the pair has a magnitude 2.7 while the fainter secondary star is 5th magnitude. The two are nearly 4 arc-minutes apart, so easily separated using binoculars

The moon, passes Jupiter on the night of June 23/24 For New Zealand the two are some 7° apart on each evening, with the moon to the lower left of the planet on the 23rd and to its lower right the following evening.

SATURN is at opposition on June 27, just over a week after the solstice and a few hours before the planet and moon are closest for June. At opposition Saturn will be 1354 million km, 9.05 AU from the Earth and just over 1 AU more from the Sun.

Saturn and the moon are at their closest at 3pm on the 28th, about 14 hours after Saturn is at opposition. Just one hour later, the moon is full.

URANUS remains a morning object rising rather more than two hours after midnight by the end of the month. The planet is in a corner of Aries.

NEPTUNE rises shortly after midnight at the beginning of June and close to 10.30 pm by the end of the month. The planet reaches a stationary point in its orbit on June 19.

PLUTO remains in Sagittarius between Saturn and Mars. It is some 1.5° from the moon on the afternoon of June 2 and again on the evening of June 29. In the latter case the moon will be just past full.

BRIGHTEST ASTEROIDS in JUNE, magnitude, constellation, time of transit
                JUNE 1                JUNE 30   
            Mag  Cons   transit    Mag  Cons   transit
(1) Ceres   8.7   Leo    5.25pm    8.8   Leo    4.13pm
(2) Pallas  9.1   Mon    2.07pm    8.9   CMi    1.16pm
(4) Vesta   5.8   Sgr    1.52am    5.6   Oph   11.30pm

(1) CERES is an evening object in Leo. It passes close to two bright stars in the constellation during June. On the 4th it is close to epsilon Leo, magnitude 3.0. The two are closest at 7pm, when their separation is only 40 arc-second. On June 28 Ceres passes gamma Leo. They are 10 arc-minutes apart at 6.30pm, when Ceres will be to the right of the star. Gamma Leo is a wide double star, magnitudes 2.23 and 3.64, their separation being 4.5" at PA 126°

(2) PALLAS is an early evening object, setting about 7.15 pm on the 30th. It will move into Canis Minor on the 22nd and be just under 5° to the left of Procyon on the 30th.

(4) VESTA is at opposition on June 20th. Its magnitude will then be 5.3 making it potentially a naked eye object. The asteroid will be in Sagittarius. On the 20th the moon is at first quarter, setting a little after midnight. At 12.30 am Vesta will be high, almost due north, 8.5° to the left of Saturn which will be a couple of degrees higher. The magnitude 3.8 star mu Sgr will be between Saturn and Vesta, 3.25° from the planet. Vesta is as bright on the 18th when the moon sets at 10pm.

Viewing Vesta with the unaided eye requires dark skies and good eyesight.

Brian Loader


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