This Week's Sky at a Glance
Some night sky sights for June 7 – 15
Saturday, June 8
Sunday, June 9
"P. Jenniskens (SETI Institute) and E. Lyytinen (Helsinki, Finland) predict a return of the 1930 Gamma Delphinids meteor shower with a peak on 2013 June 11 at about 8:28 UT [4:28 a.m. on the morning of the 11th EDT, 1:28 a.m. PDT]. The shower is expected to last only about 30 minutes."
During the 1930 outburst, three observers in the American Meteor Society recorded 51 meteors appearing in 30 minutes through the light of the full Moon. "This account is [now] interpreted as having been caused by the dust trail of a long-period comet, which thus is an unknown potentially hazardous comet that passed close to Earth's orbit in the previous return.... If so, that stream of dust is predicted to move into Earth's path in 2013 — if the radiant position of the meteors was correctly recorded in 1930."
Tuesday, June 11
Thursday, June 13
Friday, June 14
Saturday, June 15
Want to become a better amateur astronomer? Learn your way around the constellations. They're the key to locating everything fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope.
Sky & Telescope, the essential guide to astronomy. Or download our free Getting Started in Astronomy booklet (which only has bimonthly maps).
Once you get a telescope, to put it to good use you'll need a detailed, large-scale sky atlas (set of charts). The standards are the little Pocket Sky Atlas, which shows stars to magnitude 7.6; the larger and deeper Sky Atlas 2000.0 (stars to magnitude 8.5); and the even larger Uranometria 2000.0 (stars to magnitude 9.75). And read how to use sky charts with a telescope.
You'll also want a good deep-sky guidebook, such as Sue French's Deep-Sky Wonders collection (which includes its own charts), Sky Atlas 2000.0 Companion by Strong and Sinnott, the bigger Night Sky Observer's Guide by Kepple and Sanner, or the beloved if dated Burnham's Celestial Handbook.
This Week's Planet Roundup
Mercury and Venus remain in twilight view low in the west-northwest, but Mercury is fading: from magnitude +0.2 to +0.8 from June 7th to 14th. Mercury is upper left of much brighter Venus, magnitude –3.8. Their separation closes from 5° to 3.6° during this time. Above them shine fainter Castor and Pollux.
Venus and Mercury just ended a threesome dance with Jupiter; here's Fred Espenak's gallery of pics.
Mars and Jupiter are hidden in the glare of the Sun.
Saturn (magnitude +0.4, in Libra) glows in the south during evening, with Spica 12° to its right. Look almost as far to Saturn's left or lower left for Alpha Librae.
In a telescope, Saturn's rings are tilted 17° from our line of sight. See our guide "Scrutinizing Saturn" in the May Sky & Telescope, page 50, or the shorter version on our website. And identify Saturn's many moons at any time and date with our SaturnMoons utility or handier app.
Uranus (magnitude 5.9, in Pisces) is low in the east just before the beginning of dawn.
Neptune (magnitude 7.9, in Aquarius) is in the southeast before dawn begins. Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune.
All descriptions that relate to your horizon including the words up, down, right, and left are written for the world's mid-northern latitudes. Descriptions that also depend on longitude (mainly Moon positions) are for North America. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) equals Universal Time (also known as UT, UTC, or GMT) minus 4 hours.
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