Mid-June, 2021: As morning twilight begins – quite early this time of year – the great winged horse is in the south-southeast. The Great Square of Pegasus is made of moderately bright stars. The horse’s neck and head extend toward the south. A star cluster is off the tip of the horse’s nose.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
During mid-June, the sun rises early and morning twilight begins even earlier. In the Chicago area, that’s about 3 a.m. CDT. For regions farther westward in their time zones, the sky begins to brighten up to an hour later.
As Jupiter and Saturn shine from the southern sky, the Great Square of Pegasus is about one-third of the way up in the eastern sky. The square is large, but easily identified, to the upper left of Jupiter.
The square’s stars are not as bright as Jupiter or Saturn, but they are easily found.
The horse’s neck extends westward from the square’s southwestern star, Markab. Its name is thought to mean, “riding, or anything on which one is carried.”
Two stars west of Markab are nearby, then a longer hop to Biham – “the luck star of the wild beasts.” This star could be thought to represent an eye.
The star figure turns sharply upward to Enif, “the horse’s nose.”
If you’re following this on the chart above, the horse figure is upside down. From the southern hemisphere, the horse is right side up.
The globular star cluster, Messier 15, is 4.1° to the upper right of Enif. Such clusters revolve around the galactic center in orbits that are outside the plane of the galaxy where we see the stars at night.
About a century ago, maps of the locations of these clusters enabled astronomers to place the center of the galaxy behind the stars of Sagittarius and the solar system’s location tens of thousands of light years away from the galactic center.
Messier 15 is beyond the limit of eyesight and a binocular is needed to see it appearing as a fuzzy point of light. A telescope reveals a glob of stars. A space telescope reveals the view shown above.
Articles and Summaries
- Venus as an Evening Star
- Venus Evening Star (Summary)
- Mars during 2021 (Summary)
- Planets during June 2021
July 8, 2021: Evening Star Venus is 2.6° to the lower right of Mars this evening, four evenings before their conjunction. The star Regulus is to the upper left of the planetary pair.
July 7, 2021: In five evenings, Venus passes Mars for the first conjunction in a triple conjunction that carries into 2022. Look for them low in the west-northwest after sunset.
July 2021: Elusive Mercury appears in the morning sky in the east-northeast during morning twilight. The best mornings to see Mercury are July 7 and July 8, when the moon is nearby.
July 6, 2021: In less than a week, brilliant Venus passes Mars in the west-northwestern sky after sunset. This evening the two planets are 3.8° apart. Venus is over 18° to the lower right of the star Regulus.
July 1 – July 7, 2021, the waning crescent appears in the eastern sky. Early in the viewing period, the moon is among the dim stars of Pisces. As the week progresses, the moon wanes and moves farther eastward, appearing near Taurus.