GARRETT COUNTY SKIES
By Dr. Bob Doyle, Frostburg State Planetarium

Garrett County Skies for June 2019

Earliest sunrise, Start of summer, Lowest full moon, Latest sunset and bright Jupiter rises in late p.m.

     June opens with an Oakland 5:53 a.m. sunrise and an 8:38 p.m. sunset. Daylight then lasts 14 hrs. and 45 min. Twilight through June (Dawn and Dusk) lasts about an hour and ten minutes. The year’s earliest sunrise is 5:50 a.m. from June 10 – 19. Summer officially begins on June 21 when the sun’s vertical rays reach farthest North (latitude 23.5 degrees N). Our longest daily sunlight are 14 hrs. and 57 min. from June 18-26. Our latest sunset is 8:49 p.m. from June 26 – July 2. June ends with 5:54 a.m. sunrise and an 8:49 p.m. sunset. Daylight then lasts 14 hrs. and 55 min.

    If you are lucky, you may see a slender crescent moon near the brilliant planet Venus very low in the East about 20 minutes before sunrise on June 1. On June 3, the moon’s motion about the Earth will carry it from the morning to the evening side of the sun (New Moon). In the western dusk  on June 5, a slender crescent moon will appear near the planet Mars, On June 8, the moon will appear above the bright star Regulus in Leo in the southwestern dusk. The evening moon will be nearly half full on June 9 with its right half in sunlight. Along the moon’s straight left edge, the sun is rising, lighting up the raised crater rims. The evenings around the half full moon are best for spotting the lunar craters with a telescope or with binoculars mounted on a tripod. On June 10, the  planet Jupiter is closest tothe Earth and brightest, rising about sunset and shining all through the night. Jupiter is in the star group Ophiuchus and will have a rather low sky track. But even with binoculars you may be able to spot Jupiter’s big 4 moons as tiny stars close to Jupiter. Late in the evening of June 15,, the moon appears at the top of a triangle with the planet Jupiter to the left and the pink star Antares to the right. On June 16, the moon is to the left of Jupiter. June’s full moon is on the 17th, the lowest full moon of the year. For each full moon is opposite the sun.  So when the sun is highest, the full moon is lowest. Late in the evening of June 18, the moon and the planet Saturn appear close. On June 26, the morning moon is half full, appearing as a reversed ‘D’ in the southern dawn.

   As for the other bright planets, Venus is at a low angle to the sun and difficult to see. Mercury is at its greatest angle from the sun in late June. Mercury and Mars appear closest on June 18 low in the West Northwest at dusk with Mercury being brighter.

   Most prominent star groups on June evenings are: the Summer Triangle in the East (with the bright star Vega highest), the Big Dipper in the North Northwest, kite shaped Bootes high in the West and the J shaped Scorpion in the South,

      In the months of June, July and August, I am taking my portable planetarium to girl and boy scout groups to their meeting sites in the evenings for free instruction to learn the easiest to recognize star patterns (11 in all) through the year. I have developed a one page sky chart for the four seasons along with a sheet on how to use this chart. If the evening is clear, we can set up small telescopes for observing the moon and planets as well. Please contact me through email at rdoyle@frostburg.edu.