The Italian Astronomers’ Union has outlined the astronomical events of June 2023, considering them scientifically very interesting. There will be a curious chase among the stars: Mars, which moves from the constellation of Cancer to that of Leo, will be close to Venus, which anticipates the time of its sunset more and more with respect to the Sun.
The longest day of the year
But this month will also welcome the longest day of the year: the summer solstice falls on June 21st, exactly at 4.58 pm Italian time. That day we will have 15 hours and 15 minutes of light. The Sun will rise at 5.36 and set at 20.51, officially kicking off the northern summer and southern winter.
Dates to remember
The most interesting events of the month concern various conjunctions observable in the early hours of the night, starring the Moon, Mars, Venus and the star cluster M 44, also known as the ‘Crib Cluster’. On June 2, for example, Mars will pass right in front of the cluster and will therefore appear to be at the center of this group of stars. The Crib will again be the protagonist on the night of June 13, but this time it will be Venus who will make the close encounter. Finally, not to be missed, on the evening of 22 June, is the procession of stars that will be visible in the western sky.
The summer constellations
In the late evening it will be possible to admire, on the southeast horizon, that of Scorpio, where we find the brilliant Antares, a red supergiant star, while in the west we will be able to observe the slow setting of the great constellations of Leo and Virgo in succession. High in the sky are the two brightest stars of the season: the westernmost is Arcturus, in the constellation Bootes, and the other is Vega.