MANITOBA SKIES – June 2017
June brings with it the summer solstice, and the fewest hours of darkness of the year. The sun sets late and rises early, and for Manitobans, the sky never gets truly dark. The northern horizon glows with twilight all night, but there are still worthwhile targets for skywatchers.
At sunset, Jupiter dominates the view to the southwest, outshining everything else in the evening sky except the moon. It's fairly low, so you'll need a clear horizon to get a decent view. Even a pair of binoculars will reveal Jupiter's largest moons - these appear as tiny "stars" in a line on one or both sides of the planet. The moons change their positions nightly, and sometimes one or more are invisible as they are either in front of or behind the giant planet's disk.
Saturn rises about 11pm in the southeast, and is low in the southwest by dawn. You'll need a telescope to see the rings, but even telescopic views aren't great this month, since the thicker air near the horizon muddies the view.
Just before dawn, Venus pops up above the eastern horizon. See how long into the day you can follow it!
To see where things are in the night sky, visit Heavens-Above's excellent Sky Chart page for Winnipeg, and adjust the times and dates for when you will be observing. For other locations, visit the Settings page and choose the nearest city or town.
Sky Events - June 2017
All times below are given in Central Daylight Time (CDT), the local time zone for all of Manitoba.
1 Jun 2017 (evening): First Quarter Moon.
2 Jun 2017 (evening): The Moon, Jupiter and the bright star Spica make a nearly-straight line in the south.
3 Jun 2017 (evening): The moon passes very close to Jupiter this evening.
9 Jun 2017 (morning): The Full Moon is near Saturn.
15 Jun 2017: The planet Saturn is at opposition, the point in its orbit when it is opposite the Sun in Earth's sky. This means that Saturn rises at sunset, is highest in the sky around local midnight, and is visible all night.
17 Jun 2017: Last Quarter Moon.
20 Jun 2017 (evening): The Summer Solstice occurs at 5:24 p.m. Central Daylight Time. This marks the official start of summer in the northern hemisphere; after this, the number of daylight hours begin to shrink again.
23 Jun 2017: New Moon.
30 Jun 2017: First Quarter Moon.
To spot the International Space Station as it passes over southern Manitoba, visit Heavens-Above.com which calculates times and directions for you.