Monday, June 7 – Old Moon near Uranus (before sunrise)
Look low in the east-northeastern sky before dawn on Monday, June 7 to see the old crescent Moon shining three finger widths below (or three degrees to the celestial southeast) of the magnitude 5.9 planet Uranus, close enough for them to fit together in the field of view of binoculars (red circle). Observers viewing the duo from more southerly latitudes will see them more easily since they’ll be higher and in a darker sky.
Thursday, June 10 – New Moon and annular solar eclipse (at 10:52 GMT)
The first solar eclipse of 2021 occurs ten days before the June solstice and 2.3 days past lunar apogee, resulting in an annular eclipse. The moon’s shadow will first touch Earth along the northern shore of Lake Superior at 09:55 GMT, and then it will sweep across northwest Greenland and the North Pole. The eclipse will end when the moon’s shadow lifts off the Earth in northern Siberia at 11:29 GMT. The partial eclipse will be visible in eastern North America, the North Atlantic, and most of Europe and Asia. When the sun rises at about 5:30 a.m. EDT in the Great Lakes region, it will already be at mid-eclipse and will be approximately 75% obscured by the moon. The partial phase will persist until the moon completely moves off the sun at approximately 6:30 a.m. EDT. (Use Starry Night to look up your local circumstances.) Proper solar filters will be required to view any portion of this eclipse in person; however, it will be widely available to watch online.
Friday, June 11 – Young Moon meets Venus (after sunset)
Look low in the west-northwestern sky after sunset on Friday, June 11 where the very young crescent moon will be positioned several finger widths to the lower right (or 3 degrees to the celestial west) of the very bright planet Venus – allowing both objects to appear together in binoculars (red circle). Watch for Earthshine illuminating the darkened portion of the moon. The scene will make a lovely wide field photograph when composed with some interesting landscape.
Saturday, June 12 – Double shadow transit on Jupiter (from 02:41 to 03:33 GMT)
The next significant Jupiter shadow transit event of June will occur in the pre-dawn sky on Saturday, June 12, when observers with telescopes in the Atlantic Ocean region, Western Europe, and Western Africa can see two shadows on Jupiter. Observers living on the very eastern edges of Canada might get a glimpse of this event as Jupiter rises, if there are clear skies and a clear view of the east-southeastern horizon. At 3:43 a.m. BST or 2:41 GMT, Ganymede’s large shadow will join Io’s smaller shadow already in transit. Io’s shadow will move off the planet at 4:34 a.m. BST or 3:34 GMT, leaving Ganymede’s shadow to complete its crossing hours later.
Sunday, June 13 – Crescent Moon above Mars (early evening)
After sunset on Sunday, June 13, look low in the west-northwestern sky for a young crescent Moon shining prettily just a few finger widths above (or three degrees to the celestial northeast of) the reddish dot of Mars. The Moon and planet can be viewed together in binoculars (red circle) before Mars sets at about 11:30 p.m. in your local time zone.
Chris Vaughan is a science writer, geophysicist, astronomer, planetary scientist and an “outreach RASCal.” He writes Astronomy Skylights, and you can follow him on Twitter at @astrogeoguy. He can also bring his Digital Starlab portable inflatable planetarium to your school or other daytime or evening event. Contact him through AstroGeo.ca to tour the universe together.