Starwatch for June 2024

Written by on June 25, 2024

Hello! I’m Karl Hricko of United Astronomy Clubs of NJ and the National Space Society, bringing you the June Starwatch for WNTI – the sound of Centenary.

The first day of summer or the summer solstice has been celebrated by many cultures as a special day of the year. During the Neolithic time, the stones at Stonehenge were aligned to mark the rising of the Sun on this day.  In the same way, the ancient Egyptian temple of Osiris had an alignment for this solstice.

At Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, the Anasazi Pueblos marked this date by using a spiral petroglyph marked by sunlight in the shape of a dagger. We presently determine the time and date of the summer solstice by measuring the closest angular distance between our North Pole axis and the Sun. So our official first day of summer begins on the summer solstice, or Thursday the 20th   at 4:50 p.m. this month.

In the meantime, the visible planets still go on their way, each having their own seasons.   Jupiter and Mars can be seen to the northeast in Taurus at dawn. Mars is to the upper right of Jupiter. The ringed Saturn can be viewed rising after 1 am in Aquarius, and later this month, Mercury makes its appearance next to Jupiter. So while you watch the visible planets this month you should realize that you don’t need Stonehenge to know when summer solstice begins.

Until our next Starwatch –    Don’t forget to check out … What’s up in the night sky!


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