Venus and Jupiter share the night sky throughout June. Shining in Gemini in the west-northwest and Libra in the south, respectively, the two bright planets appear to approach one another over the month.

Mercury lies quite close to the sun and will be very difficult to spot in June. Saturn rises at 10:41 p.m. on Friday, and should be a splendid sight parked right next to the full moon. June’s full moon was known by various early Native American tribes as the Strawberry, Rose, or Honey Moon — none having to do with hue, but with horticulture. On June 27 you’ll see the two even closer, at less than 2 degrees.

On Friday, Mars rises two hours after Saturn, and on the morning of June 3 lies only 3 degrees below the waning gibbous moon. The waxing crescent moon lies only about 3 degrees from the Beehive (Praesepe) in Cancer the Crab on June 20. On June 23, the waxing gibbous moon joins Jupiter in the south.

Summer solstice occurs at 6:07 a.m. June 21. The summer solstice occurs when the sun’s apparent path is farthest north of Earth’s equator, and is the longest day of the year.

Q&A

Q: What’s with this recent silliness about a Flat Earth Society? — E.O., Akron

A: The current Flat Earth (FE) argument most probably began as a joke. Unfortunately it seems to have become part of a movement (like anti-vaxxers and climate change deniers) of anti-intellectualism and anti-science.

Theories abound over why we are seeing this behavior, but it is unhelpful and ultimately maladaptive. As Wolfgang Pauli said, “This isn’t right. This isn’t even wrong.”

That the Earth is a sphere has been clearly understood for thousands of years. The ancients determined this correctly simply because verification is visible to any human eye. Contemporary FE pseudoscience ignores reams of concrete evidence showing the Earth as a sphere. Instead they propose a set of spheres above the Earth quite reminiscent of faulty cosmological models developed 500 years ago — and abandoned 400 years ago.

Recall that the term “flat-Earther” is often used in a deprecating way to refer to one who holds nonsensically obsolete views.

Programs

The periodically updated The Universe at Large is presented at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, with weekday shows at 1 p.m. June 4 through Labor Day. The Hoover-Price Planetarium is included with admission to the McKinley Presidential Library and 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 1 p.m., with a show followed by a 30- to 45-minute open lecture/discussion.

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 hooverpriceplanetarium@hotmail.com or read his blog at https://hooverpriceplanetarium.wordpress.com/.