By Dr. Bob Doyle, Frostburg State Planetarium

GaCy2106 Garrett County Skies for June 2021 by Bob Doyle, Emeritus, Frostburg State University

Moon goes by a succession of bright stars in mid June, Summer starts on June 20, Moon-Jupiter line ups
June opens with an Oakland dawn starting at 4:40 a.m., sunrise at 5:53 a.m., mid day at 1:15 p.m., sunset at 8:38 p.m., dusk ending at 9:50 p.m., giving us 14 hrs. and 48 min. of sunlight that day. The sun shines in front of Taurus through June 20, then shifting into Gemini for the rest of June. On June 1, the moon is near the bright planet Jupiter in the southeastern dawn. In the western dusk the brilliant planet Venus is setting about 10 p.m. while the planet Mars sets
about 11:40 p.m. in early June. On June 2, the morning moon appears half full (like a reversed ‘D’) in the southern dawn.

On June 10, the moon shifts from the morning to the evening side of the sun (New Moon). This is followed by two weeks of a growing moon (in lighted width) in the evening sky. On June 13, the crescent moon appears above the planet Mars in the western dusk. Then the moon will pass by the following bright stars: Regulus (Leo) on June 15, Spica (Virgo) on June 19 and Antares (Scorpius) on June 22. The moon is full on June 24, rising as the sun sets and staying in view all
through the night. Then the moon creeps eastward, passing by the planet Saturn on June 27 and by Jupiter on June 28 (look around midnight in the southeastern sky).

Consider the two brightest stars in the June evening sky. High in the South is the bright golden star Arcturus (means ‘bear driver’). The bears are the Big Bear (Ursa Major) and the Little Bear (Ursa Minor), also known as the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. You can be sure that you are seeing Arcturus by following the curve of the Big Dipper’s handle and going about one dipper’s length. Arcturus is part of the star group Bootes, which resembles an ice cream cone with Arcturus at the tip. The second brightest star is Vega in the Northeast. Vega is white-blue in tint and is in the star group Lyra. In Greek mythology, Lyra belonged to Orpheus, who used a tortoise’s shell to make a marvelous musical instrument. When Orpheus played his lyre, savage beasts would become tame. Orpheus lost his bride on his wedding day and then his life. Zeus threw his lyre high into the sky and there it shines every summer and fall evening.

At the end of June 20, summer officially begins. For the sun is then farthest North. The sun’s vertical rays reach latitude 23.5 degrees North. This line crosses North of Havana (Cuba), cuts Africa in two) and across Malaysia and Borneo. Locally, the sun on June 21 will be highest in the South, rising farthest to the North of East and setting farthest to the North of West. From June 17 through June 25, Oakland will have its longest days, each lasting 14 hrs. and 57 min.

June ends with sunrise at 5:54 a.m. and a sunset at 8:49 p.m.