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June Skychart

June 1: The nine-day-old moon, three days past first quarter, is waxing in the sky from sunset 'til past midnight. It passed above Saturn earlier in the day, and passes above Spica, the bright star of Virgo, tonight. Watch the moon drift slowly to the east past the star, while Saturn and Mars are to their right and Jupiter is to their left.

June 1: Mercury, at inferior conjunction, passes between earth and sun and enters the morning sky.

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June 2: The very bright object near the moon tonight is Jupiter. To their right and higher, at dusk, you can see Spica, Saturn, and Mars in that order. The moon is in conjunction with Jupiter at about 4 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, moving slowly away from Jupiter (to the left) during the night.

June 7: The moon is at apogee, farthest from earth. It is located in Sagittarius above the ''Teapot,'' about where the winter solstice is located. The solstice is the most southerly location of the earth's orbit; the sun is at this point on the sky (as seen from earth) on the first day of winter each year.

June 13: Mercury, having passed between sun and earth (inferior conjunction) on the 1st, ends its retrograde motion and begins moving easterly again. Now to the sun's right (west), it is in the morning sky, and may be seen toward the end of the month, low in the east during morning twilight.

June 15: The earliest sunrise of the year occurs today as the ''longest day'' of the year, the first day of summer, approaches.

June 18-19: The waning crescent moon is near Venus, to the right and above on the 18th, to the left and below on the 19th.

June 19: Saturn is stationary relative to the stars and resumes its direct (easterly) motion. Until now it has been moving slowly to the right away from Spica, the bright star of Virgo. Now it begins to approach Spica again, passing it in September.

June 19: The waning crescent moon passes Mercury today, close enough to cover the planet (an occultation) in the sky over the northern part of North America, where Mercury and the moon are above the horizon. Seeing the event will be difficult, however. The moon and Mercury, as well as the nearby star Aldebaran, are in the morning sky on both the 19th and 20th, but they rise late and remain low during twilight. Even in the northern areas where they will be above the horizon when the occultation occurs (about 9 p.m., EST, on the 19th), they will be very low or it will be daylight.

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June 21: Three celestial events of some significance occur today. When the moon is new at 6:52 a.m., EST, it causes a partial solar eclipse over the Antarctic and parts of South Africa, the third of seven eclipses that take place in 1982. Less than an hour later, the moon is at perigee, where it is nearest earth, and the perigee spring tide will cause substantially higher than ordinary tidal heights tonight and tomorrow morning. Finally, the sun reaches the summer solstice at 12:23 p.m., EST, and summer begins in the Northern Hemisphere. This is also the date when the duration of daylight (the ''longest'' day of the year) is greatest for places north of the equator.

June 24-25: The young crescent moon may be visible during evening twilight on the 24th, and will surely be visible on the 25th. The star near the moon is Regulus, in Leo. The moon passes Regulus during the day on the 25th.

June 27: The latest sunset of the year (for the Northern Hemisphere) takes place today.

June 28: First quarter moon occurs shortly after midnight this morning. The bright object nearest the moon (below it) is Mars. To Mars's left are Saturn, Spica, and a very bright Jupiter, in that order. The moon passes Mars at about 6 a.m., EST; Saturn about 4 p.m.

June 28: Jupiter resumes its normal (easterly) motion relative to the stars. The planet now moves away from Saturn and Spica (to its right), and toward the constellation Libra. The moon is between Saturn (to its right) and Spica (to its left), with Mars to the right of Saturn, Jupiter well to the left of the moon.

June 29: If you haven't met it yet, the moon will introduce you to Jupiter. At sunset they will be high up in the south, with the moon to the right and above the planet. Watch the moon move left above Jupiter, however, to pass it about 8 p.m., EST, and drift to its left (east) thereafter.

All month: Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter are still prominent in the constellation Virgo, near Spica, well placed from sunset until about midnight. At dusk, they appear well up in the south; brilliant Jupiter first, then Spica, Saturn, and Mars (in that order) to its right. During June, Mars moves swiftly to the east, noticeably closing its distance from Saturn and Spica. Saturn moves slowly to Spica's right (west) until the 19th, then moves to the left toward the star. Jupiter also changes direction, approaching Spica and Saturn until the 28th, then moving away from them. By midnight, the three planets and the star are in the west, curving from Jupiter (highest) down toward the horizon. The moon joins them early in the month (on the 1st and 2nd) and again at month's end.

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