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Arizona skies offer planets, man-made satellites on view during month of June

This July 19, 2011 photo of the International Space Station was taken from the space shuttle Atlantis after it left the orbiting complex. NASA ordered up urgent spacewalking repairs at the International Space Station. (NASA via AP)

With June approaching, get ready for a rich summer sky!

The arrival of the summer solstice, on June 20 at 9:42 p.m., will provide us with some amazing sights in our Arizona skies.

Keep in mind that longer days are followed by shorter nights as begin our sky tour.

The moon will come to its first quarter phase on June 1, followed by the full moon on June 9. This full moon is known as the full Strawberry Moon or the full Honey Moon.

You may notice that the June full moon is smaller than others. This is due to the fact that the moon will be near apogee (farthest from the Earth), about 256,000 miles away. This full moon is the smallest of the year.

You can also view a close conjunction of the June full moon and the planet Saturn, which will appear a few degrees to the right of the moon.

June is a great time to spot many of the man-made satellites which orbit the Earth.

With the later sunsets and earlier sunrises, you will be able to catch a glimpse of some of the larger objects, such as the International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope and the Chinese Tiangong 1 and Tiangong 2 space stations.

To know when and where to look, check out heavens-above.com. Simply plug in your state and town and you will be able to know what is visible on any given night.

Here are the planets to see in June:

  • Jupiter is high in the south at sunset and bright.
  • Saturn is best around June 15 when it appears at opposition.
  • Venus is the bright planet well above the northeast sky at dawn.

Look to the skies on the nights of June 21 to June 26. This is near the time of the new moon and — with clear and dark skies — you will see the night sky at its best!

June skies offer something for everyone! Get you very own Dr. Sky June star chart.

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