The heat of summer arrives along with short, permanently twilight nights for the British Isles. The Sun even at midnight never sinking far below the northern horizon.

The summer triangle is visible this month, this is made up of the three first magnitude stars Altair in Aquila, Vega in Lyra and Deneb in Cygnus. It is overhead on summer nights. The summer solstices will be on the 21st at 15.54UT. This is when the Sun reaches its greatest declination 231/2 north.

The twilit conditions favour observations of high atmosphere noctilucent clouds (NLC). These are most commonly seen within a few weeks of the summer solstice; they are distinctively silver blue coloured and often have a strongly banded appearance. They are usually brightest in the low northern sky around the star Capella.

The Moon

First quarter 10th Full 17th Last quarter 24th

The planets

Gas giant Jupiter is the planet of the month it can be found in the south in Ophiuchus around midnight UT 1am BST. Jupiter reaches opposition on the 10th but very low down.

Mars can to found in the northwest in Gemini around 22.15 ut but not very well placed for telescope observation.

Ringed planet Saturn can be found in the south in Sagittarius at 00.45 ut it is onlt 15 degrees above the horizon its northern pole is tilted towards Earth by 24 degrees. The moon will be close to Saturn on the 19th.

Mercury can be seen in the northwest in Gemini around 50 minutes after sunset. Mercury will reach greatest eastern elongation on the 23rd separated by the Sun by 25.2 degrees on that evening

Venus can to found in the northeast in Taurus around 30mins before sun rise but also very low down. On the morning of the 1st it will rise 45 mins before the Sun and will be joined by a 5% lit waning crescent moon.

Lyrids meteor shower

The June Lyrids are active from 10th to 21st June. Maximum activity will be on the 15th when there is a predicted zenithal hourly rate of eight. The shower radiant is located just to the west of the diamond of Lyra so it is well placed for uk observers and this area of sky attains a good altitude at midnight on the 15th. The 86 per cent illuminated Moon will interfere with the showers visibility this year as it rises just after midnight on the 15th. It is always a good idea to look for these either side of the 15th. Lyra can be found in the night sky 10pm in the s-east, midnight in the south and s-west around 3am.

June and July are the best time to see Noctilucent clouds the best time to look for these is 90-120 minutes after sunset in the northwest or 90-120 minutes before sun rise. These form when water ice crystallises around seeding particles located in a thin layer of the mesosphere around 82kn up. Noctilucent clouds appearance is delicate and easily lost when the sky is too bright.

Events during the month

Saturday 1st if you up early 30 minutes before sun rise look low to the northeast and see if you can spot Venus and the 6% waning crescent moon, they should be around 9 degrees apart.

Monday 3rd this evening Jupiter seems to have another planet as it passes near star HIP84543.

Tuesday 4th look to the northwest around 30 minutes after sun set and see if you can spot the waxing crescent moon and Mercury, they should be 5 degrees apart. Then from 23.30ut there will be a double transit and shadow transit of Jupiter with the moons Io and Ganymede.

Wednesday 5th tonight it’s the turn of Mars and the waxing crescent moon they will be 4 degrees apart.

Saturday 8th ifyou have a telescope look at the moon at 22.00ut look at the crater Alexander and see if you can see the necklace of lights as the peaks on the rim catch the Sun.

Sunday 9th tonight’s moon watch target is the crater Julius Caesar.

Monday 10th Jupiter reaches opposition.

Tuesday 11th North wales astronomy Observing evening from 19.30 on wards at the Llanelian Community centre. Everyone’s welcome £1.00 entrance.

Thursday 13th if you have a telescope look at Jupiter from around 21.00ut there’s another chance to see a moon and its shadow on Jupiter’s disc.

Monday 17th for the next few evenings after sunset see if you can spot the two planets Mercury and Mars in the northwest.

Wednesday 19 this evening Saturn and the full moon will be very close together. If you have a telescope look at Jupiter from at midnight and see if you can spot the moon Callisto just to the north.

Friday 21st Today the Sun will reach its highest point in the northern hemisphere the summer solstice.

Sunday 23rd the planet Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation.

Wednesday 26th Lecture night from 19.00 at the Old School Llanrhos see our website for more details