Star Watch

Star Watch for June through August, 2019

The WCSU Planetarium and Observatory facility is CLOSED for the Summer season. Public Nights will resume during the Fall semester; check this site during August for a full schedule.


NIGHTLY SKY CALENDAR                                                                                                                                                      

*, !, !! – interesting to very interesting celestial event

E –  calendar or geometry- related event (such as an equinox)


Day Date Note Description
Mon June 17 FULL Strawberry MOON
Tue,Wed 18,19 * The waning gibbous Moon passes near the planet Saturn.
Fri 21 E The summer solstice (Sun farthest north in our sky) occurs at 11:54 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Sun 23 * The planet Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation 25 degrees from the Sun; look WNW around half an hour after sunset. Mercury and dimmer Mars make a nice pair, with the stars Castor and Pollux to their right.
Tue 25 Last Quarter Moon
Tue  July 2 New Moon. A total eclipse of the Sun will not be visible from New England.
Wed 3 * Look low in the WNW after sunset to see a grand alignment of (looking left to right) Mercury, Mars, the razor thin waxing crescent Moon and the stars Pollux and Castor. (The view on the evening of the 4th is almost as good, but the crescent Moon will have moved to the left of and above Mercury.)
Tue 9 * The planet Saturn, in Sagittarius, reaches opposition, rising at sunset and visible (from SE to S to SW) all night. The planet’s rings are tilted more than 24 degrees to edge-on, making for a glorious sight in a telescope.
Sat 13 * The planet Jupiter passes near the waxing gibbous Moon.
Tue 16 ! The FULL Buck MOON passes very close to Saturn in the SE sky during early evening. A partial eclipse of the Moon is not visible from North America.
Sat 20 Where were you when Apollo 11 landed at the Sea of Tranquility? (That was at 4:17 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 50 years ago.)
Wed 31 New Moon
Wed Aug. 7 First Quarter Moon
Fri 9 ! The waxing gibbous Moon passes very close to the planet Jupiter.
Mon 12 * The waxing gibbous Moon passes near Saturn.
Thu 15 FULL Sturgeon MOON
Fri 23 Last Quarter Moon
Fri 30 New Moon


PLANETARY INFORMATION                                                                                                     

MERCURY starts the summer as an “evening planet,” reaching its greatest eastern angular distance from the Sun on June 23. Thereafter, it closes with the Sun and moves into the predawn sky as a “morning planet,” reaching greatest western angular distance from the Sun on August 9. Mercury and Mars are close together in the WNW early evening sky during the second half of June and the first week of July.

VENUS – spends June and July as a brilliant object in the ENE predawn sky, but it gets ever lower as the weeks pass. After August 14, when it moves behind the Sun, Venus makes the slow transition to an “evening planet.” However, it will remain low in the western sky for the remainder of August.

MARS remains inconspicuous, low in the WNW early evening sky, for June and the first half of July, before vanishing into the Sun’s glare for the rest of the summer.

JUPITERin Ophiuchus, reached opposition on June 10 and is well placed for observing in the SE to S to SW skies for most of the summer.

SATURN – in Sagittarius, will reach opposition on July 9 and be visible in the SE evening sky all summer long. The planet’s rings, open quite wide, make a beautiful sight in telescopes.

Star Watch is a service provided by the Earth and Planetary Sciences program at Western Connecticut State University. Thanks for connecting!