Major Events to See in June Skies
June has three big events in store for us: the summer solstice, the last of 2021’s three supermoons, and a partial eclipse of the sun.
First up is the solar eclipse, which will be in progress at sunrise on June 10. Here are the times when the eclipse will be at its maximum in towns in the four corners of Minnesota, along with the percent of the sun’s face that will be covered at that moment: Pipestone, 5:45 am, 1.1%; Hallock, 5:31 am, 28.5%; Grand Marais, 5:07 am, 63%; and Winona, 5:31 am, 13.4%. To see it, make sure you have a clear view of the eastern horizon—even though the sun will be very low—watch it only with proper eye protection.
A total solar eclipse from 2017 above Madras, Oregon. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)
Second, the summer solstice arrives at 10:32 pm on June 20, when the Northern Hemisphere tilts most sharply toward the sun. At that moment a space traveler would see Earth lighted from the Antarctic Circle to the North Pole and beyond to the Arctic Circle on the dark side of our planet.
Last comes June’s full moon, which qualifies as a supermoon by virtue of its closeness. It rises the evening of June 24, near the juncture of the lid and handle of the Teapot of Sagittarius. Because June’s full moon is unusually close, its new moon, being at the opposite point in the same lunar orbit, is unusually far away. As seen from some far northern regions of the globe, that new moon lines up so well with the sun on June 10 that if it were closer, it would produce a total eclipse. Instead, those areas see a rare annular eclipse, where the dark moon is encircled by a ring of bright sun.
Where to find Jupiter and Saturn in June
Jupiter and Saturn begin rising before midnight in mid–to late June, and they’re well up in the southeast to the south before dawn all month long. Between June 27 and 29, watch the waning moon pass below the planets in the morning sky. In the evening sky, Venus hovers near the west–northwestern horizon, in the sun’s afterglow.
June 2—Third Quarter Moon
This phase occurs when the Moon is three-quarters of the way through its orbit around the Earth.
June 10—New Moon
The Moon is located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and is not visible in the night sky. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects like galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
June 17—First Quarter Moon
The Moon is one quarter of its way through its orbit around the Earth, which makes half the Moon illuminated and half dark from our perspective. This is the best time of the month to see the Moon’s surface features like craters and mountains through binoculars or a telescope.
June 24—Full Moon
The Moon is located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and the side we see is fully illuminated.