Earth’s summer season solstice arrives at 11:54 a.m. EDT, when the Solar reaches its farthest level north within the sky. This marks the official starting of summer season within the Northern Hemisphere, and the day of the solstice has extra hours of daylight than some other. For astronomy buffs, nevertheless, lengthy days translate into quick nights and prolonged twilight, which restrict our time beneath the celebrities.
Neptune’s eastward movement towards the background stars involves a halt at midnight EDT. This so-called stationary level marks the start of one of the best interval to look at any outer planet. Neptune rises round 12:30 a.m. native daylight time and seems about 30° excessive within the southeast as morning twilight commences. The magnitude 7.9 planet lies in Aquarius, 1.3° east-northeast of 4th-magnitude Phi (φ) Aquarii. You possibly can verify your sighting of Neptune by means of a telescope, which reveals the planet’s 2.3″-diameter disk and blue-gray shade.
Saturday, June 22
This week presents an excellent alternative for binocular customers to trace down the northern sky’s brightest globular cluster. M5, whose 100,000 stars glow at a mixed magnitude of 5.7, lies within the southwestern nook of the constellation Serpens the Serpent. You possibly can find it simply 0.4° north-northwest of the Fifth-magnitude star 5 Serpentis. Binoculars present the cluster as a hazy ball of sunshine punctuated by a vibrant core.
Sunday, June 23
Mercury reaches biggest elongation at 7 p.m. EDT, so right this moment marks the height of its present night apparition. The innermost planet lies 25° east of the Solar and seems 11° excessive within the west-northwest half-hour after sundown. It shines at magnitude 0.4 and may present up simply to the bare eye, though don’t hesitate to comb the realm with binoculars to seek out its place. For those who view Mercury with a telescope this night, you’ll see that its 8″-diameter disk is about 40 p.c lit.
The Moon reaches apogee, the farthest level in its orbit round Earth, at 3:50 a.m. EDT. It then lies 251,375 miles (404,548 kilometers) from Earth’s heart.