The night sky with Martin Lunn: watch out for the June partial eclipse

ASTRONOMS frown a little in June because of the very short night period, but in June a lot happens.

There is a partial solar eclipse visible from Britain this month, June sees the start of the noctilucent cloud viewing season, or ‘brilliant night’ and daylight saving time begins officially this month.

On June 10, if the weather is clear, we can see a partial solar eclipse. This is the first partial eclipse since that of March 20, 2015.

At maximum, viewed from the Yorkshire Dales at 11:13 a.m., approximately 39% of the Sun’s face will be covered by the Moon.

I must issue a warning here, never look at the sun through a telescope or binoculars without a special filter, as this will almost certainly result in blindness.

The safest way to observe the eclipse is to project the image onto a white screen, then watch the screen and watch the event safely.

I’m sure there will be several astronomers showing the eclipse live via the internet.

The Moon begins to cover the Sun at 10:06 a.m. with a maximum at 11:19 a.m. and the eclipse will end at 12:24 p.m.

An eclipse of the Sun occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun and blocks the light, sometimes as in this case the Moon does not cover all of the Sun, so we see a partial eclipse.

This particular eclipse is called an annular eclipse because although the Moon is in front of the Sun, it is not large enough to cover all of the Sun.

Observers will therefore see a bright yellow ring around the Sun. The word annular comes from the Latin annulus or ring.

The path of this eclipse through Earth comes from eastern Canada, northwestern Greenland, and ends in the far northeast of Russia.

The next total solar eclipse visible from Britain will be on September 23, 2090.

Although we have to wait until late at night before the sky turns dark, June heralds the start of the noctilucent cloud viewing season, or “shining night”.

Nocturnal clouds are magnificent, often eye-catching silvery-blue formations of very high-level ice crystals, reflecting the sun’s rays just after it sets or before it rises.

Unlike normal daytime clouds, nighttime clouds form very high in the atmosphere at a height of about 50 miles, or 82 kilometers.

The nature of nocturnal clouds is not fully understood, but it is believed that they are formed of very small grains of meteor dust covered in ice.

Noctilucid clouds appear in various forms, often seen as a bright herringbone pattern, while at other times they have a wispy appearance.

As the month progresses, the chances of seeing nocturnal clouds increase. However, they can only be seen for a short time.

Over the next few weeks at dusk, about an hour after sunset or at dawn before sunrise, look north to see if there is any of those silvery blue clouds. If they are there, you saw a nighttime cloudy display.

Seeing the stars from city centers can be difficult due to light pollution making the skies too bright.

Viewing nighttime clouds is not affected by this, however, meaning they can be seen from the countryside or from city centers.

This month, summer officially begins. On June 21, the Sun reaches its northernmost point in the sky at 4:32 a.m., marking the instant in time known as the Northern Hemisphere summer solstice.

Nights will be at their shortest for the next few weeks making it difficult to see the stars until very late in the evening. In the southern hemisphere, of course, winter officially begins.

The plow has now moved to a point somewhat west of the overhead, but it is still very high. The “W” of Cassiopée has therefore gained a little height to the east.

The three stars that make up the Summer Triangle, Altair in Aquila the Eagle, Deneb in Cygnus the Swan, and Vega in Lyra the Lyre, are now all over the horizon and will dominate the sky during the summer months.

Arcturus, the bright orange star of Bootes the Shepherd, is now at its highest, while the other two main stars of spring, Spica in Virgo the Virgin and Regulus in Leo the Leo, now descend to the west.

The large weak constellations of Hercules, Ophiuchus the serpent bearer and Serpens the serpent occupy much of the southeastern sky now and will be around in the southern sky during the summer months. Alphard, the Solitaire of Hydra the Water Serpent is now installed.

However, there is a bright newcomer; a red star called Antares in Scorpio the Scorpio, appearing low in the southeast. It is a shame that Scorpio never soars high in the sky in Britain because it is a large constellation. I’ll take a closer look at Antares next month.

The planets in June:

After the wonderful spectacle of Mercury last month, it is now close to the Sun to be seen, the same is true of Mars as well.

If you look southwest at the area of ​​the sky where the sun is setting, it is possible to see the planet Venus for about an hour after sunset. It can be seen as a bright white dot in the sky.

If you want to see the planets Jupiter and Saturn, you will need to get up before the Sun rises. They can both be seen in the morning sky before sunrise.

Meteor showers:

There are no major meteor showers forecast for this month.

Moon phases for June:

Last quarter 2; New moon 10; First quarter 18; Full moon 24.

The Moon can sometimes help us find the planets with the naked eye in the sky and during the month of June in the morning sky of June 27, 28 and 29, we will see it pass under the planets Jupiter and Saturn.

The June Full Moon which is the last of this year’s super moons is called the Strawberry Moon, because it is the time of year when the strawberry, considered the most famous and important berry, was traditionally. harvested.

These days, the strawberry season lasts much longer.

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