Mars, at magnitude +1.6, is fairly low in the western sky about an hour after sunset but has moved slightly eastward. This is temporary as it will soon resume its westward journey toward the horizon.

If you have a good pair of binoculars or a small to medium-sized telescope, you are in for a treat beginning June 1 and lasting through June 3. During those dates, Mars will transit in front of M44, an open star cluster known as the Beehive Cluster. It should be a pretty sight on June 2 as it will appear nestled in amongst the stars of the cluster.

Venus will continue to dominate the early evening sky reaching its greatest elongation from the Sun on June 4. On June 4 and 5, it too will pass close by the Beehive Cluster (M44). But because Venus will be shining at magnitude -4.5, it will dominate the stars in the cluster. You will again probably need good binoculars to see the stars in the cluster.

Jupiter is slowly gaining height above the early morning eastern horizon. On June 14, it will be separated by a mere 2.5 degrees from the waning crescent moon. With good binoculars, you may be able to see Jupiter’s moon, Callisto, positioned to the east of the planet. On that same date, and with binoculars in hand, turn your attention to the east-northeastern horizon about an hour before sunrise and see if you can spot Mercury shining at magnitude -0.6.

The Moon will be full on June 4, last quarter on June 10, new on June 18, and first quarter on June 26. Looking to the east on June 14, about one hour before sunrise, the waning crescent moon will be slightly below and to the left of Jupiter. Looking west on June 21, about one hour after sunset, the waxing crescent moon will be just to the right of both Venus and Mars.

Prepare for the longest day of the year as the Summer Solstice will be upon us at 8:58 a.m. MDT (14:58 UT) on June 21.

There will not be a first Saturday star party at the Etscorn Campus Observatory this month.

Clear Skies!

Jon Spargo, New Mexico Tech Astronomy Club