Archive for May 31, 2016

05/31/2016 – Ephemeris – Previewing June’s bright skies

May 31, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, May 31st.  Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 20 minutes, setting at 9:20, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:00.  The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:55 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow will be the first of June, so let’s preview June skies.  There will be a lot of sunlight in June.  The daylight hours will increase a bit from 15 hours and 21 minutes tomorrow to 15 hours and 34 minutes on the 20th, the solstice, retreating back to 15 hours 31 minutes at month’s end.  At this time of the year the sunset times for Ludington, Interlochen, Petoskey and Mackinaw City are very nearly the same.*  However the sunrise times are at their most divergent.  With Ludington’s sunrise being 14 minutes later than Mackinaw City’s.  The altitude of the sun above the southern horizon at local noon will increase from about 67 and a half degrees to 68 and three-quarters on the 20th.  Local noon, when the sun is actually due south will occur at about 1:43 p.m.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

*  See


June Star Chart

June star chart

Star Chart for June 2016. Created using my LookingUp program. To enlarge in Firefox Right-click on image then click View image.

The planets and stars are plotted for the 15th at 11 p.m. EDT.  That is chart time.  Note, Traverse City is located approximately 45 minutes behind our time meridian.  (An hour 45 minutes behind our daylight saving time meridian.) To duplicate the star positions on a planisphere you may have to set it to 1:45 earlier than the current time if you are near your time meridian.

Evening nautical twilight ends at 10:45 p.m. EDT on the 1st, increasing to 10:57 p.m. EDT on the 30th.

Morning nautical twilight starts at 4:36 a.m. EDT on the 1st, and decreasing to 4:35 a.m. EDT on the 30th.

Add a half hour to the chart time every week before the 15th and subtract a half hour for every week after the 15th.  Before the 13th also subtract an hour for Standard Time.

For a list of constellation names to go with the abbreviations click here.

  • Pointer stars at the front of the bowl of the Big Dipper point to Polaris the North Star
  • A leaky Big Dipper drips on Leo
  • Follow the arc of the handle of the Big Dipper to the star Arcturus
  • Extend the arc to a spike to point to Spica.
  • The Summer Triangle is outlined in red.  Vega in Lyra (Lyr), Deneb in Cygnus (Cyg) and Altair in Aquila (Aql).

Calendar of Planetary Events

Credit:  Sky Events Calendar by Fred Espenak and Sumit Dutta (NASA’s GSFC)

To generate your own calendar go to

Times are Eastern Time.  Some additions made to aid clarity.

    Date    Time      Event
Jun 01  We            Venus: 1.5° W
    03  Fr  1:43 a.m. Saturn Opposition
    03  Fr  5:47 a.m. Moon-Mercury: 0.7° N
    03  Fr  6:55 a.m. Moon Perigee: 361100 km
    04  Sa 11:00 p.m. New Moon
    05  Su  4:59 a.m. Mercury Greatest Elongation: 24.2° W
    06  Mo  5:13 a.m. Moon North Dec.: 18.6° N
    06  Mo  5:34 p.m. Venus Superior Conjunction with the Sun.
    10  Fr 10:47 a.m. Moon-Regulus: 2.2° N
    11  Sa  3:35 p.m. Moon-Jupiter: 1.6° N
    11  Sa  6:20 p.m. Moon Ascending Node
    12  Su  4:10 a.m. First Quarter
    13  Mo  6:06 a.m. Mercury-Pleiades: 6.8° S
    15  We  8:00 a.m. Moon Apogee: 405000 km
    18  Sa  8:40 p.m. Moon-Saturn: 3.6° S
    18  Sa 11:39 p.m. Mercury-Aldebaran: 3.8° N
    20  Mo  7:02 p.m. Full Moon
    20  Mo  2:52 p.m. Moon South Dec.: 18.6° S
    20  Mo  6:35 p.m. Summer Solstice
    26  Su  1:28 a.m. Moon Descending Node
    27  Mo  2:19 p.m. Last Quarter
Jul 01                Venus: 6.8° E