Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, June 5, through Sunday, June 7, 2020

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, June 5, through Sunday, June 7, written by Sam Salem.

On Friday, Sun rises at 5:18am and sets at 8:30pm; full Moon occurs at 3:12pm, Moon sets at 5:11am and rises at 8:36pm. A penumbral lunar eclipse will also occur on Friday. The eastern portion of South America, as well as Africa, Australia, Europe, and much of Russia, will be able to view all or part of the event. No eclipse takes place in North America. All the action will be happening while the Moon is below our horizon. A penumbral eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the lighter portion of Earth’s shadow, called the penumbra, causing a shading effect, although none of the Moon will go completely dark.

As the stars come out on Friday, look to the right of the full Moon, by roughly a fist at arm’s length, for orange Antares, the red supergiant star, brightest star in the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion.

Mercury is having a nice apparition in evening twilight. Look for it in the west-northwest as twilight deepens. Mercury is fading from magnitude 0.0 last Sunday to +0.7 on Saturday, a loss of half its light. On Friday, try to catch Mercury in twilight, under Pollux and Castor, the two brightest stars in constellation Gemini, the twins.

Venus is lost in the Sun’s glare for the first week or two in June. Venus swung in front of the Sun, at inferior conjunction, on Wednesday, to transition out of the evening sky and into the morning sky. Look for Venus to reappear in the eastern dawn by around mid-June.

If you stay up very late on Sunday night, you can glimpse the Moon with the bright planets Jupiter and Saturn, ascending in the east. You can also see them before daybreak, in your southern sky. Jupiter and Saturn are near one another on the sky’s dome, with Saturn following Jupiter westward across the sky from mid-to-late evening till dawn. Look first for brilliant Jupiter and you’ll find Saturn a short hop to the east of it. Saturn pales next to Jupiter, which outshines Saturn by some 15 times. Even though Moon will be bright, use a telescope to watch Jupiter with only 1 satellite visible at 2:17am on Saturday.

Mars, in dim constellation Aquarius, is far to the left of Saturn as dawn begins. It has been slowly brightening and enlarging. Mars, which is a bit brighter than Saturn, more or less aligns with Jupiter and Saturn in the predawn/dawn sky. However, Mars is a long jump to the east of Jupiter and Saturn. Saturn shines between Jupiter and Mars, much closer to Jupiter. Mars is the last of the three bright morning planets to rise in June. Jupiter rises first, closely followed by Saturn, and then a few to several hours later by Mars.

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