Weekly Stargazing Tips

Provided by StarDate.org. Unless otherwise specified, viewing times are local time regardless of time zone, and are good for the entire Lower 48 states (and, generally, for Alaska and Hawaii).

June 19: Messier 10

The star cluster Messier 10, in Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer, is in the southeast as night falls, well to the upper left of the brilliant planet Jupiter. Through binoculars, it looks like a hazy smudge of light.

June 20: Summer Solstice

Summer arrives in the northern hemisphere tomorrow morning. At that moment, known as the summer solstice, the Sun will stand farthest north for the entire year. It marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere.

June 21: More Solstice

While the northern hemisphere enjoys the beginning of summer today, the southern hemisphere is heading into winter. The June solstice is the longest day of the year north of the equator, but the shortest day south of it.

June 22: The Coathanger

The Coathanger, a pattern of 10 stars that looks like a coat hanger, is in the faint constellation Vulpecula, the fox. It lines up between the the bright star Altair, which is low in the east at nightfall, and brighter Vega, far to its upper left.

June 23: Massive Milky Way

The Milky Way is beginning its journey into summer’s evening skies. It arcs low across the east not long after nightfall. It’s anchored by teapot-shaped Sagittarius in the south, the graceful swan in the east, and W-shaped Cassiopeia in the north.

June 24: Last-Quarter Moon

The Moon will be at last-quarter before dawn tomorrow, so sunlight will illuminate half of the lunar hemisphere that faces Earth. The Moon is three-fourths of the way through its monthly cycle of phases.

June 25: Scutum

A small, faint “shield” of stars climbs high across the southern sky tonight. The constellation Scutum represents the coat of arms on the shield of John Sobieski, a 17th-century king of Poland and one of the country’s great heroes.