Society News and Night Sky Notes – June 2001

Society News Headlines

  • June 1st: Look out for Noctilucent Cloudsin the North after dark.
  • June 2nd: 35th Anniversary (1966) of Surveyor 1 Unmanned lunar landing.
  • June 3rd: WIND spacecraft Near-Earth Flyby (0.0055AU)
  • June 4th: Mercury is stationary.
  • June 4th: Pluto is at opposition.
  • June 5th: Comet 51P/Harrington at Perihelion (1.568AU).
  • June 6th: Mars 4° South of Moon.
  • June 7th: Minor planet 42 ISIS at opposition in Ophiuchus at Mag 9.4.
  • June 8th: Venus at greatest elongation 46° West.
  • June 10th: Neptune 3° North of Moon.
  • June 11th: Uranus 3° North of Moon.
  • June 11th: Minor planet 14 IRENE at opposition in Ophiuchus at Mag 9.8.
  • June 13th: Happy 170th Birthday James Maxwell. Born 1831.
  • June 13th: Mars at opposition.
  • June 14th: Planned launch of space shuttle Atlantis STS-104 (ISS 7A).DELAYED UNTIL JULY
  • June 14th: Jupiter in conjunction with the Sun.
  • June 16th: Mercury at Inferior Conjunction.
  • June 17th: Venus 1.7° North of Moon.
  • June 18th: Comet 86p/Wild III at perihelion (2.310AU).
  • June 19th: Comet c/2000 CT54 (Linear) at perihelion (3.136AU)
  • June 19th: Saturn 0.9° North of Moon.
  • June 21st: Total Solar Eclipse (not seen from UK).
  • June 21st: Summer Solstice at 07hr:39m UT.(08hr:39m BST)
  • June 21st: Mars at its Closest to Earth (42 million miles).
  • June 27th Comet 144P/Kushida at perihelion (1.431AU).
  • June 26th: Happy Birthday Charles Messier, Born 1730.
  • June 28th: Mercury is stationary.
  • June 28th: 90th Anniversary (1911) Nakhla meteorite fall in Egypt (Mars meteorite).


Will it be cloudy to-night?, ask the The U.K. Goverment Met Office Weather service. To make your own star chart fo your location at any time, Click Here.

The Sun and Moon

All times are in BRITISH SUMMER TIME (BST) For Observer in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, U.K.

Latitude 53 degs 24 mins North.
Longitude +3.0 degs West.

           May 31st     June 5th     10th       15th       20th        25th          30th
SUNRISE    04:51        04:47       04:44      04:43      04:43       04:42         04:47
SUNSET     21:28        21:34       21:39      21:42      21:44       21:45         21:44

The SUMMER SOLSTICE occurs on the 21st at 08hr:39m BST, the longest day of the year, and when the Sun will be at its highest point in the sky this year. The Sun lies in the constellations of Taurus/Gemini. Solstice is latin word literal meaning “Sun standstill”. From now on the hours of darkness slowly lengthen.


on 21st
at 12h:59m
on 28th
at 04h:21m
on 5th
at 16h:05m
on 13th
at 19h:46m



Mercury, having excelled itself last month, is now at inferior conjunction on the 16th.


Venus, keeps its easterly bearing and increases slightly in altitude about half an hour before Sunrise.


Mars is at opposition on the 13th. It is quite low down as this year’s opposition occurs in Ophiuchus, close to the borders with Scorpius and Sagittarius. Even using high magnification Mars is initially a disappointing view through a telescope, the yellowish disk seemingly devoid of detail at first glance. A closer inspection will reveal a brighter polar cap or caps and the use of coloured filters can enhance the view more, bringing out subtle but real surface detail. By rare coincidence this month, the equator of Mars is pointed almost exactly toward us, so each pole is seen about equally well.One thing you cannot fail to notice though is that Mars is small. At an apparent diameter of 20″.5 right now this is as big as it’s going to get!. On the 6th Mars is 3° south of the Moon at 21hr:00. On the 22nd Mars passes just 9″ South of the faint star 36 Ophiuchi which is just visible to the unaided eye. Mars is now moving in retrograde motion.

Info Sheet: Mars in 2001

Info Sheet: Mars in 2001


  • 42 Isis is at opposition in Ophiuchus on the 7th at Mag 9.8.
  • 14 Irene is at opposition in Ophiuchus on the 11th at Mag 9.4

For More information on Asteroids Click Here.


Jupiter is at solar conjunction on the 14th and is therefore not on view this month.

Launched in October 1989, the Galileo Jupiter Probe entered orbit around the great planet on December 7th 1995. The Project Galileo Homepage will give you up-to-date information and the very latest images returned.


Saturn is only just recovering from it solar conjunction last month, becoming a morning object later in the month..


Both planets rise before midnight by the end of the month in the constellation of Capricornus, so those patient enough to wait up until the early hours will be amongst the first to get a glimpse of these two planets. Even if you cannot see them directly a few long exposure photographs of the region using a 135mm lens will reveal them when the photo is compared with a good star atlas which shows faint stars. Neither planet will show much of a disk-the most you can expect with a small telescope will be to distinguish any pastel colouration which may be evident under excellent seeing conditions.

Sky chart: Path of Uranus in 2001

Sky chart: Path of Uranus in 2001

Positions for the 1st June:
                          R.A.                   DEC                    TRANSIT TIME           MAG
                      21h:49m:44s           -13°:55':41"                   06h:22m             5.8

Neptune will be at opposition on July 30th and is best seen during the summer months.

Sky Chart: Path of Neptune in 2001

Sky chart: Path of Neptune in 2001

Positions for the 1st June:
                          R.A.                   DEC                    TRANSIT TIME           MAG
                      20h:35m:31s           -17°:56':55"                   05h:08m             7.9


Pluto at opposition on June 3rd,can be found in Ophiuchus, roughly between the 4th magnitude stars zeta and 20 Ophiuchi. The best time to look for the planet is around New Moon. The dates below will be a guide for planning observations.

Sky chart: Path of Pluto in 2001

Sky chart: Path of Pluto in 2001

Positions for June are when Pluto's elongation angle is greater than 90°.

DATE                      R.A.                   DEC                   TRANSIT TIME
June 10th              16h:54m:45s            -11°:48':13"                 00h:50m             
June 20th              16h:53m:41s            -11°:48':02"                 00h:10m
June 30th              16h:53m:41s            -11°:48':30"                 23h:30m

Pluto is best seen between JUNE 14th – JUNE 28th.



Plus these pages will give daily and weekly reports of this and other Comets progress.


  • There are no occultations of bright stars this month.