By Larry Mahon
Agate Ridge Observatory
There are two special events happening in first week of June this year. The first is a partial lunar eclipse in the early morning of June 4.
This eclipse and all other lunar eclipses are safe to watch with any optical aid you have. The catch for this one is that it starts at 3 a.m. PDT when the moon is still 17 degrees above the south-southwestern horizon.
About an hour later the moon will be 38 percent into the umbra, the darkest part of the Earth's shadow. The eclipse will be over by sunrise.
The second event is a transit of Venus on the afternoon of June 5, starting at 3:05 p.m. PDT. This transit is the first one since 2004 and the next one for Venus won't happen until 2117 -- that's 105 years from now.
The black dot of Venus, only 3 percent the size of the sun, is like a solar eclipse and can not be viewed directly without projecting it or proper solar filters. I am willing to bet that images of the event will available on the Internet.
Jupiter rises about 45 minutes before the sun at the beginning of June. By the end of the month, it will be nearly 35 degrees ahead of the sun, and 26 degrees above the eastern horizon.
The most amazing event to watch will be Venus catching up with Jupiter. Speeding past the sun on June 5, it ends the month only 5 degrees below Jupiter by June 30 as it sails through the Hyades.
This summer solstice is June 20, at 4:09 p.m. PDT. This is the northern most point the sun will reach for this year when it appears 23 degrees and 26 minutes north of our equator. Summer will be officially upon us.
All persons that are really interested in the moon and its glorious detail will be glad to hear that there is now a new moon globe available.
The new globe is a mosaic of digital photos taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter which shows how the surface really looks.
There are 850 labels that identify its features including landing sites of all the Apollo missions and robotic lunar landers. The globe (item No. MOONGLB) is available at ShopatSky.com for $99.95.
If an occasional viewing of lunar and sky globes is what you need, be sure and come to the Saturday Market on June 16 at Sahalee Park and look for the Madras, Ashwood, Culver Astronomers display and have a free look at my older version globe, which used some artistic license in its production. Happy viewing.