New. 24th June. 23rd July. 21st August 20th September
Full. 9th June. 9th July. 7th August 6th September.
The Summer Solstice occurs at 04h 24m on 21st June.
The Autumn Equinox occurs on the 22nd September at 20h 03m.
Solar Cycle 24 continues to decline. With Solar minimum due at a point either in 2018 or 2019
There is a Partial Eclipse of the Moon on the 7th August. We will only be able to see the last few moments of this event as the Moon rises at 19.29 GMT by when the Moon is starting to emerge from the Earths Penumbral shadow.
. The Eclipse of the Decade occurs on the 21st August when a Total Solar Eclipse will track across the entire Continental USA. From London we will only be able to see a few minutes on a partial eclipse . First contact will be at 18.40 GMT maximum eclipse of a mere 4% occurs at 19.10 GMT only four minutes before Sunset!!
Not easily visible during the Summer but will make a brief appearance in the Morning Sky between the m 4th and 24th September
Venus is in the Moring Sky for the rest of the Year. In June the planet will be low over the Eastern horizon in bright twilight at dawn and not emerging into a dark sky until early July. By late October Venus will again be lost into the dawn twilight.
Mars reaches conjunction with the Sun on the 27th July. It will be late September before Mars is visible again . At this point it will shine a t a Magnitude of 1.8 and present a tiny Disc of only 3.7 Sec of Arc. Mars to all intents will not be a good subject to observe until late 2018.
Jupiter is well placed for observation now and will remain a prominent feature in our evening sky during early Summer. Positioned at a declination varying between minus four and minus seven degrees Jupiter will be almost free from obscuration by hazes. By mid July Jupiter is getting obscured by the Sunset brightness as it heads towards Solar conjunction on the 26th October
Saturn will be a challenge to view successfully during 2017. During this year it will languish at a lowly declination minus 22 degrees taking the same path along the horizon as the Sun does in the first week of December. Saturn reached opposition to the Sun on the 15th June. Saturn’s larger Moon Titan can be spotted in Binoculars or small Telescopes when conditions are favourable. On the 15th September the Cassini Mission is scheduled to end with the probe descending into Atmosphere of Saturn and Burning up.
Meteors , Comets & ASTERIODS
The main Meteor shower of the Summer is the Perseids which are between the 23rd July and the 20th August . The Maximum of the shower occurs over the Nights of the 11th , 12th and 13th August. The Summer Moon interferes with the observation of the shower. On the night of the 12th August it rises at 21.42 GMT just as the last of twilight is ending.
There is one Comets that may still be observed or more possibly imaged with suitable equipment .
COMET C2015 V2 Johnson.
This Comet reaches closest approach to the Sun on the 12th June at a Distance of 244.9 million Km (1.64AU) just a little further out from the Sun as the averaged distance of the planet Mars. However at this time the Comet will lie with a line of sight that takes it into bright evening twilight.
Finder charts can be found on the WEB site Heavens above.com or In-The-Sky.org
Comets are notoriously difficult to observe and unless they are very close and bright the Classic features of a shining head and streaming tail are not apparent to the naked eye. At best sometimes all that can be seen is a slight smudge against the background sky or a faint star like point. Comets can also brighten or fade unexpectedly, so it is well worth checking the above WEB sites for the latest information before starting an observing run.
The track of this Comet takes it rapidly south through the Constellation of Virgo and by the 26th June it will be too far south to be seen from the U.K.
In early June first of the Summer stars begin to appear in the late evening. Above us just past the Zenith will be the familiar circumpolar stars of the Great Bear (Ursa Major) close by the bright orange star, Arcturus to which the three stars in the tail of the Great Bear point. Looking a short distance to the left of Arcturus on clear evenings the circlet of stars that comprise the Northern Crown (Corona Borealis) can be glimpsed. Following to the Left ( East ) is the large star grouping of the constellation of Hercules at its heart lies the compact group of stars comprising the Keystone . Between the western most of the four star of the Keystone is located M13 a Globular Cluster. This Cluster is regarded as the finest Globular Cluster in the northern sky. Binoculars show it as a fuzzy patch of light but in larger telescopes it is spectacular. Just lifting over the horizon are the 3 brightest stars of Summer; Vega, Deneb and Altair, collectively known as the Summer triangle . These three stars and the constellations in which they lie will remain on view into the late Autumn. Each Summer observers of Variable stars pay particular attention to this area of the sky as running through it is an arm of the Milky way containing very many faint stars. Binoculars show how close together these stars are packed . Very frequently one of these inconspicuous stars erupts as a Nova. The last bright one was in 2013 when on the 14th August Koichi Itagaki in Yamagata, Japan noted a star of Sixth magnitude in the constellation of Delphinus that had not been visible on the previous evening. Research subsequently showed that the star had been almost seven magnitudes dimmer previous to its sudden brightening. The star was then designated Nova Delphinus 2013. It slowly faded of a period of several weeks. So the Sky can spring surprises.
June sees the return of Noculucent clouds the first reports of sightings from the U.K. were received from Northern Ireland on the 31st May. These high altitude clouds appear in the late evening or early morning glowing bright Blue just above the North western or North eastern horizon. These night shining clouds form at an altitude of 80km or 50 miles high up in the atmosphere but are dependent upon low temperatures of Minus 80 degrees Celsius or below being achieved and the presence of water vapour with cosmic dust upon which to accrete. With the Sun spot cycle declining conditions may be good for these clouds to form during this Summer.