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Stars, planets and the moon – what you can see in the starry sky in June

Stars, planets and the moon – what you can see in the starry sky in June

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June heralds the astronomical summer. It starts with two bright stars. At least a few planets are visible.

FRANKFURT – Around June 21 each year, the sun reaches its highest point of the year – the time of the summer solstice and the beginning of astronomical summer in the Northern Hemisphere. In 2024, this starting signal will be sounded on June 20 at 9:51 pm – the longest day of the year.

“Anyone who can see the sunset point from a fixed location should follow it,” recommends Uwe Pilz of the Friends of the Stars Association when asked by from IPPEN.MEDIA. “As June progresses, the sun sets further and further north and reaches its northernmost point, the far right, on June 20. Just a few days later, this point moves slightly to the south again.

Two bright stars can be seen for the first time in the night sky in June

Once the sun sets in the evening, you can see two particularly bright stars first: the distinctly orange-red star Pole in the constellation Bear Guardian, and the bluish-white star Vega in the constellation Lyra. Arcturus is the brightest star in the northern sky and the fourth brightest star in the entire starry sky. It is only 36.7 light years away from Earth, which is relatively close in terms of astronomical distances. Vega is a little closer to the Sun, only about 25 light-years away.

What can be seen in the starry sky? The monthly overview shows that. © Imago/Scientific Image Library

The star is part of the Summer Triangle, which can be clearly seen in the night sky in June. In addition to Vega, the Summer Triangle includes the stars Caedus in the constellation Swan and Vulture in the constellation Vulture. The Big Dipper – part of the Ursa Major constellation – remains high in the sky, but will soon move lower. In the southwest you can see the constellation Virgo, whose main star, Spica, shines blue.

In the starry sky in June: the red star Antares is 'opposite Mars'

In the south, you can spot the constellation Scorpio, with its red main star, Antares. Antares is a massive red giant with an interesting name. It comes from ancient Greek and means “Gegenares”. The god Ares was known to the Romans as Mars, so Antares is the “anti-Mars.” This may also be because both Antares and Mars glow red in the sky.

As far as the planets are concerned, the situation will be somewhat better in June than it was in May. Mercury and Venus remain unobservable, but Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can be detected in the sky again. Although Mercury cannot be seen in the sky in June, it still reaches its closest point to the sun, called perihelion, on June 13. This is also when it reaches its maximum speed: it orbits the Sun at 212,400 km/h, the highest speed a planet in our solar system can achieve.

The planets Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can be seen in the sky again in June

Venus, which is also not visible in June, catches up with the Sun at the beginning of the month and – from an Earthly perspective – disappears behind the Sun's disk. However, the Sun's occultation of Venus cannot be observed using amateur methods. You can finally see Mars again. It can be found in the morning sky, where it still has a faint reddish glow. On June 3, the crescent moon visits the red planet in the sky.

Jupiter appears in the morning sky again around mid-month. There he walks through the “Golden Gate of the Ecliptic” – which consists of two open star clusters, the Pleiades and Hyades in the constellation Taurus. Saturn can still be seen in the sky in the second half of the night. It will rise just slightly before midnight at the end of June. It gets slightly brighter throughout the month. On June 27, he has a wonderful meeting with Al Hilal. (unpaid bill)