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Night Sky Guide For June 2013

Your guide to constellations, deep-sky objects, planets and events, Tonight’s Sky,

Highlights of the June Sky

Evening Planets

Before the sky gets fully dark, look for brilliant Venus blazing just above the Western horizon.

During the first half of the month, try to find the dimmer glow of Mercury close by.

After sunset, Saturn appears in the southern sky to the left of the bright star Spica. Saturn will gradually slip into the west during the night.

Constellations and Deep-Sky Objects

Turn your gaze upward to find four distinctive constellations.

High overhead lies Boötes, the Herdsman. Find it by looking for its prominent kite shape, which was noted by many ancient cultures.

Arcturus is the fourth-brightest star in the night sky.

The star Epsilon Boötis is also known as Izar. In binoculars, Izar resolves into one of the finest double stars in the sky. The colour contrast between the stars is striking.

Just to the left of Boötes lies the Northern Crown, Corona Borealis. This lovely circlet of stars represents the wedding crown of Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos of Crete.

While the stars are not very bright, their pattern is easy to pick out.

The mythical strongman Hercules is also found high in the summer night sky, wielding his mighty weapons.

The constellation is rather dim. Look for its lopsided square of four stars, called the Keystone.

The Keystone in Hercules is the “key” to finding one of the brightest globular star clusters in the summer night sky. The wonderful Hercules Cluster, also known as M13, contains about a million stars.

Outside the Keystone lies another magnificent globular cluster of stars, M92.

Globular clusters are collections of closely packed, gravitationally bound stars.

Draco, the Dragon, winds his way through the northern sky.

The Dragon’s head is a skewed square of stars. Look for the dimmest of the corner stars. In binoculars it resolves into two stars, which look like a bright pair of headlights.

The night sky is always a celestial showcase. Explore its wonders from your own backyard.


Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute, Office of Public Outreach

Starfield images created with Stellarium

Mythological constellation forms from Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive

Uranographia by Johannes Hevelius, courtesy of the United States Naval Observatory

Venus and Mercury images courtesy of Mario Weigand

Saturn image courtesy of John Endreson

Izar image courtesy of David Darling, The Internet Encyclopedia of Science

M13 image courtesy of the MicroObservatory Robotic Telescope Network

M92 image courtesy of Hunter Wilson

Nu Draconis image courtesy of Donnie Driskell

Narrated by Nancy Calo

Music written by Jonn Serrie

Production: Lucy Albert, Greg Bacon, John Bintz, John Godfrey, and Vanessa Thomas

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