Solstice and occultation of Spica. Astronomical events of June 2024

The first month of summer is the time of the summer solstice, which falls on June 20 this year. In the north of Ukraine, at this time, there comes a period not very favorable for night astronomical observations, when evening twilight directly turns into morning. This will significantly worsen the visibility conditions of the periodic comet Olbers, which will pass perihelion on June 30. Its angular distance from our sun on this day will be only 30°, and the total brightness is unlikely to reach the 7th magnitude.

However, large planets can be observed in such conditions. After the conjunction of Jupiter with the Sun on May 18, they all appeared in the morning sky (Venus will be there until June 4, and Mercury — until the 14th), and until midsummer only two of them — Saturn and Neptune — will be observed before dawn in a relatively dark sky. On the morning of June 28, when the moon rises, it will be almost in the middle between these two planets. Among other interesting events related to the Moon, it is worth mentioning that the edge of the lunar disk covers one of the four brightest zodiac stars — Spica (α Virgo). It will be visible on the evening of June 16 in the north-east of Ukraine.

June 1

  • The Moon is 1° south of Neptune (7.9ᵐ)

June 2

  • The Moon is at perigee, 368,107 km from the center of the Earth
  • Comet Pons-Brooks (12P/Pons-Brooks) at 1,546 AU (231 million km) from Earth

June 3

  • The Moon is 2° north of Mars (1.0ᵐ)

June 4

  • Mercury (-1,1ᵐ) is 0.1° south of Jupiter (-2.0ᵐ)
  • Venus is in superior conjunction with the Sun

June 5

  • The Moon is 3° north of Uranus (5.8ᵐ)

June 6

  • New Moon

June 12

  • The Moon is 4° north of Regulus (α Leo, 1.3ᵐ)

June 14

  • The Moon is in the first quarter phase
  • The Moon is at its apogee, 404,077 km from the center of the Earth
  • Mercury is in superior conjunction with the Sun

June 16

  • The Moon occults Spica (α Virgo, 1.0ᵐ)

June 20

  • Summer Solstice
  • The Moon is 4° east of Antares (α Scorpio, 1.0ᵐ)

June 22

  • Full moon

June 27

  • The Moon is at perigee, 369,290 km from the center of the Earth

June 28

  • The Moon is 4° east of Saturn (0.7ᵐ)
  • The Moon is 4° west of Neptune

June 29

  • The Moon is in the last quarter phase

June 30

  • Comet Olbers (13P/Olbers) at perihelion, 1,176 AU (176 million km) from the Sun