WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Look up: What's in the sky May 31 - June 6

Posted May 31, 2020 5:08 p.m. EDT
Updated June 1, 2020 11:30 a.m. EDT

The night sky rotates throughout the weeks, months and seasons.  Look for the big dipper to move from its side to nearly hanging from its handle

Look for the big dipper, an asterism or pattern of stars within a larger (official) constellation. Just a few weeks ago it was nearly laying flat. Over the coming weeks it will pivot to look as if it is hanging in the sky from its handle.

This is a good week to spot Mercury – it is at its highest point of the horizon. Look for the first rock form the Sun in the western sky after sunset, about the width of your outstretched fist below the stars Pollux and Castor in the constellation Gemini.

Mercury is at its highest the first week of June 2020

The first week in June is North Carolina Museum Week. While museums remain closed, many are offering virtual talks, tours, activities, and browsable collections online

look for the big dipper to rotate in the evening sky

Monday June 1

Look for the bright star Spica near the waxing gibbous Moon in the southern sky after sunset.

Wednesday June 3

SpaceX is set to launch another batch of Starlink satellites on Wednesday. The forecast looks much better this week with just a 20% probability of violating launch weather criteria.

Also look for the International Space Station to pass beginning at 9:52 from the northwest, it will begin to fade four minutes later as it enters Earth's shadow about a third of the way up the sky from the horizon.

Thursday June 4

Look for the International Space Station to pass beginning at 9:04 p.m. from the northwest, it will begin to fade six minutes later as it enters Earth's shadow just above the treeline.

While you are watching the station passover, be sure to give a wave to the 5 astronauts now aboard. Then look for the bright orangey star Antares near the waxing gibbous Moon in the southern sky.

Friday June 5

While Africa and Asia enjoy a "Strawberry Moon Eclipse", we'll have to settle for the full strawberry moon, Named by native tribes for the time of year when strawberries begin ripening in northern climates.

visibility of June 2020 penumberal lunar eclipse

The next eclipse visible from North America will be another penumbral lunar eclipse, on July 4.

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