Posted by on May 28, 2018 in Main |

The Milky Way. Photographed by society member Richard Crabtree, near Settle, North Yorkshire.

This month brings our summer solstice on the 21st of this month Venus, Saturn and Jupiter are brilliant, despite skies that hardly grow dark in midsummer. Only the brightest stars can be seen. Those bright stars include Vega in Lyra, which is high in the eastern sky, as is the Summer Triangle it forms with Altair in Aquila and Deneb in Cygnus returns to prominence. .

There are two very nice objects to spot with binoculars in the eastern sky well after dark this month. Two thirds of the way up the right hand side of the 4 stars that make up the “keystone” in the constellation Hercules is M13, the best globular cluster visible in the northern sky.
Just to the left of the bright star Vega in Lyra is the multiple star system Epsilon Lyrae often called the double-double. With binoculars a binary star is seen but, when observed with a telescope, each of these two stars is revealed to be a double star – hence the name!

The Sun follows a shallow arc below our North horizon overnight, the geometry allowing views of noctilucent clouds, whose silvery-blue tracery may gleam low down between the northwest after nightfall and the northeast before dawn. Noctilucent clouds are formed by ice crystals coalescing around dust particles. They float near 82km in altitude where they reflect sunlight after our normal clouds are in darkness.

This is a still a great month to observe Jupiter which came into opposition on May 8th and will be visible in the south in the late evening It is moving down the ecliptic and now lies in Libra.

We have a glorious Evening Star livening uo the summer nights. The planet Venus at magnitude –4.0, in the west after sunset, and staying above the horizon almost until midnight. On the 11th of this month, Venus is in line with the twin stars Castor and Pollux.

Saturn is at on the 27th of June. The ring world lies above the horizon all night long, shining in Sagittarius, at magnitude 0.0. Using a small telescope you may spot its famous rings and its brightest moon, Titan.

Phases of the Moon for June
Last Quarter 6th
New Moon 13th
First Quarter 20th
Full Moon 28th