David L. Richards
Saturn rises on Thursday at 9:41 p.m., joining Jupiter in the evening sky. Mars sets at 10:09 p.m. and may just be seen during the evening twilight early in June.
Venus remains quite prominent throughout the month, rising at 3:53 a.m., and Mercury is visible early in June, rising at 5:08 a.m., and is lost in the sun’s glare by midmonth.
On Saturday, the waxing gibbous moon is less than 2 degrees from Jupiter, and on June 30 the two are only 4 degrees apart. The full moon and Saturn travel together on June 9, separated by about 3 degrees.
June’s full moon is the smallest of 2017, as it will be at apogee, the point in its orbit where it is farthest from Earth, about 250,000 miles distant. June’s full moon will appear slightly less luminous than the usual full moon, prompting the popular media to use the term “minimoon.” It’s the opposite of the “supermoon,” an equally silly and unnecessary appellation. The chances are pretty good few of us will notice the difference.
The summer solstice occurs June 21, when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky at noon.
Q: What’s the name of the asteroid that hit Earth that wiped out the dinosaurs? — M.S., Uniontown
A: Astronomers have not named the individual responsible, but they thought they knew the family.
Baptistina, a huge asteroid, crashed into another asteroid about 160 million years ago. The collision sent shattered mountain-size remnants flying, one of them possibly striking Earth, causing the dinosaurs’ extinction.
Recent observations by NASA’s WISE mission, though, have ruled out Baptistina, and the real culprit — or the “unsub” — remains at large.
The Universe at Large is presented at 1 p.m. Saturdays, and The Dark at 2 p.m. Sundays, with weekday shows at 1 p.m. from June 5 through Labor Day. The planetarium is included with admission to the museum. Children must be 5 years or older to attend.
The planetarium also offers an astronomy program for adults only on the first Monday of every month at 2 p.m. The Night Sky show is presented, followed by a 30- to 45-minute open lecture/discussion, driven by the interests and questions of the audience.
For more information visit the planetarium’s blog on the museum’s website, or call 330-455-7043.
David L. Richards is director of the Hoover-Price Planetarium at the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, 800 McKinley Monument Drive NW, Canton, www.mckinleymuseum.org. He can be reached at 330-455-7043, email email@example.com or read his blog at https://hooverpriceplanetarium.wordpress.com/.