Southern Sky Watch

June Skies

The planetary action is mostly in the morning sky with five bright planets, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury in the morning sky. Saturn also appears in the evening sky, but is very low in the later evening sky until mid month.

Useful info for visitors from New Zealand, South Africa and South America.

June 1; Mars and Jupiter close in the morning sky. June 2; apogee Moon. June 8; First Quarter Moon.June 11-13 Venus within 2 finger-widths of Uranus. June 14; Full Moon. June 15; perigee Moon. June 17; Mercury at its greatest distance above the morning horizon, June 18(morning 19); Saturn and waning Moon close. June 22-23; Mercury forms a second eye with Taurus the Bull. June 22; the waning Moon near Jupiter. June 23; Last Quarter Moon. June 23; Mars close to crescent moon. June 26; the thin crescent Moon is above Venus, forming a line with Aldebaran and Mercury, with the Pleiades nearby. June 27; the thin crescent Moon forms a rectangle with Mercury, Venus and Aldebaran. June 29; New Moon. June 30; Venus forms a second eye for Taurus the Bull. June 30-31, Mars near the brightening variable star Mira.


Looking up at the stars is still a rewarding pursuit, despite the increasing light pollution in our major cities. The southern sky is full of interesting objects, many of which go unseen in the northern hemisphere. All you need for a good nights viewing is yourself, a good idea of where south and east are, and your hands. Optional extras are a small pair of binoculars, a torch with red cellophane taped over the business end and a note book. A great many tips for backyard astronomy may be found here, although many of them are more relevant to the northern hemisphere. A general article on amateur astronomy from New Scientist is here (may require subscription otherwise see the TASS site.).

This page is designed to give people a simple guide to the unaided eye sky. In the descriptions of planet and star positions, distances in the sky are given as "fingers width" and "hand span". This is the width of your hand (with all the fingers together as in making a "stop" sign, not bunched as a fist) or finger when extended a full arms length from you.


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Clear crisp Winter nights are often the best for star gazing, with the broad sweep of the Milky Way arching across the sky. While the COVID-19 threat is receding, looking up at the sky is still a great social distancing pursuit. However, it gets very cold, so don't forget to rug up before doing any extended star watching. Dew formation can also mean some dampness, so a blanket or rug to sit on is a good idea, as well as a thermos of your favorite hot beverage. Winter sees our night skies dominated by the Southern Cross, sprawling Scorpio and Sagittarius, in which the heart of our galaxy hides, so it's well worth stepping out into the chill for an astronomical thrill.


While these pages are primarily intended for the use of people observing in Australia, non-Australian Southern Hemisphere observers will find most of the information here applies to them. The star information will be most helpful, when you correct your location for latitude (see the Stars section for appropriate location information). Most Moon phase, planet, comet and asteroid information will be very similar to what will be seen in New Zealand, South Africa and South America. Countries close to the equator (eg Indonesia) will have somewhat different southern and northern views, but the eastern and western views should be similar enough to get a good idea of what is going on.

Occultations, eclipses and aurora are highly location dependent, and it would be best to get a local almanac for these events. If there is no local almanac available, email me and I might be able to help you. I do try and give general info for occultations and eclipses in the Oceania area of the Southern Hemisphere.

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Aurora Alert UPDATED 01/04/22: The new solar cycle (25) is starting to heat up, with some M and X class flares and some nice auroral displays in Tasmania and Southern Australia. This bodes well for the rest of the soar cycle. During solar minimum, we were still getting occasional good auroral displays. August 26th 2018 saw an impressive display visible from NZ and Tasmania despite the full Moon. The last week of March 2017 saw some impressive aurora displays from Tasmania, Victoria, SA and WA. October 2016 saw a series of good but transient aurora in Tasmania and southern Victoria. July 2015 saw a massive storm seen as far north as mid NSW, again clouded out for large parts of Australia. 17-19/3/2015, the St. Patrick's Day aurora, massive storm seen as far north as Southern Queensland. Unfortunately clouded out for large parts of Australia. 26/2/2015, yet another good set of aurora were seen from Tasmania. 9/2/2015 There was a series of very good auroral events during February, some were seen in NSW, Victoria, SA and WA as well as Tasmania. Last year saw some nice events and a coronal mass ejection from an M class flare hit us square on on March 17 2013. Aurora were detected as far north as the QLD border, with some really nice events in Tasmania, and here are some images from that event.

Auroral images and descriptions from past geomagnetic storms are now at the auroral image web page.

Naturally, the best views of any aurora will be away from the city and bright lights. Aurora occur when charged particles from the solar wind enter Earths outer atmosphere and interact with the oxygen and nitrogen atoms producing eerie displays of coloured lights. During solar maximum, which occurs every 11 years (and solar cycle 25 should peak around 2024-2025), the number and speed of the particles are higher, allowing them to penetrate the Earth's magnetic field at lower latitudes than normal. Observers in Tasmania are likely to see green glows or sheets of light in the southern sky. Observers in Southern Victoria are more likely to see a red glow in the southern sky, although more spectacular displays are possible.

The Astronomical Society of Tasmania has a webpage devoted to this phenomenon. The Australian IPS radio and space services covers Aurora and related phenomena in very great detail (too much if you don't know much about them) but has a nice education page. Flinders Uni also has real time magnetometer readings, however, this will probably not mean much to most people.

Aurora will generally follow solar flares by about 2 days, and a number of instruments are watching the sun for these outbursts. The solar minimum occurred in 2006 and persisted for some time. While sunspot numbers, and hence flare rates are increasing, sometimes months will go by without an alert, then you have three in a week. The space weather site at http://www.spaceweather.com gives notice of when solar winds likely to cause aurora will arrive. Alternatively, send an email to reynella@mira.net with "subscribe aurora alert" as the subject and I will send you an email alert of any likely auroral event (or other interesting sky phenomena). However, even a strong solar flare is no guarantee that you will be able to see aurora, but it does increase the probability. Still more alternatively, there are the facebook pages Aurora Australis Tasmania, Aurora Australis Tasmania NOW! and Aurora Australis all do discussions and alerts.

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Email alerts I try to update this page fairly regularly outside of the monthly postings. However sometimes things happen which I can't get in fast enough, or you forget to mark your calendar. If you would like to be alerted to or reminded of interesting astronomical or sky phenomena, send an email to reynella@internode.on.net with "subscribe aurora alert" as the subject. This is the old aurora alert list, but with auroras rare even though we are heading towards solar maximum (except for the occasional humdinger, like the September 2005 auroral event), it is doing double duty. I am running the list via MailChimp, and no personal data is harvested or passed on to third parties. Astroblog will have images when possible of these events soon after.

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Coming events

Special events are bolded

Date Event
January
1 January 2022 Occultation of Mars
4 January 2022 Earth at Perihelion
4 January 2022 Crescent Moon, Mercury, and Saturn close low in the evening twilight
6 January 2022 Jupiter and Crescent Moon close
30 January 2022 Crescent Moon forms a triangle with Mars and Venus 
February
2 February 2022 Mars close to M28
3 February 2022 Jupiter close to the thin crescent Moon low in the twilight
6 February 2022Mars near globular cluster M22
13 February 2022 Mercury, Mars and Venus form a triangle in the morning sky.
27-28 February 2022 Crescent Moon, Mars and Venus form a triangle in the morning sky.
March
1 March 2022 Mercury, Saturn and thin crescent Moon form a triangle in the morning twilight
3 March 2022 Mercury very close (0.6 degrees) from Saturn in morning twilight
21 March 2022Earth at Equinox, Five bright planets visible in the morning twilight, Jupiter and Mercury close in the morning twilight.
28 March 2022Crescent Moon, Saturn, Venus and Mars from a close massing in the morning twilight with the Moon above
29 March 2022 Crescent Moon, Saturn, Venus and Mars from a close massing in the morning twilight with the Moon below
31 March 2022Thin crescent Moon close to Jupiter low in the morning twilight
April
All April 2022 Four bright planets in the morning sky Moon in the morning sky
5 April 2022 Saturn and Mars very close (0.3 degrees apart) in the morning sky
13 April 2022 Jupiter close to Neptune in the morning sky
26 April 2022 Mars close to the crescent Moon in the morning sky
27-28 April 2022 Crescent Moon close to Venus and Jupiter in the morning sky
28 April 2022 Venus and Neptune in close conjunction (< 30 arc minutes) in the morning sky
May
1  May 2022 Venus and Jupiter very close in the morning sky (0.2 degrees apart)
6-7 May 2022 Eta Aquariid meteor shower
22 May 2022
Waning Moon above Saturn
25 May 2022Mars, Jupiter and waning Moon form a triangle in morning sky
27 May 2022 Crescent Moon above Venus
30 May 2022 Mars and Jupiter very close in the morning sky (0.6 degrees apart)
June
1 June 2022 Mars and Jupiter very close in the morning sky (1.0 degrees apart)
18 June 2022 Saturn near waning Moon low in the late evening sky
14 June 2022 Perigee Full Moon ("super Moon")
21 June 2022 Earth at solstice
22 June 2022 Mercury in head of Hyades near Aldebaran in morning sky, waning Moon near Jupiter
26 June 2022 Crescent  Moon between Venus and Pleiades in the morning sky
27 June 2022 Crescent  Moon near Mercury in the morning sky
July
1 July 2022 Venus close to Aldebaran in the morning, forming a second eye for Taurus the Bull
4 July 2022 Earth at aphelion
14 July 2022Syzygy Perigee full moon ("super Moon") closest of year
15 July 2022
Moon close to Saturn
19 July
Moon close to Jupiter
22 July 2022 Waning crescent Moon close to Mars (within binocular field)
27 July 2022 Venus near crescent Moon in the morning twilight
29-30 July 2022 Southern Delta Aquarids meteor shower
30 July 2022 Mercury close to crescent moon in western evening twilight
31 July
Mars and Uranus 2 degrees apart (in same binocular filed)
August
1-3 August 2022 Mars and Uranus less than  2 degrees apart (in same binocular filed)
4 August 2022 Mercury very close to Regulus (0.7 degrees) in the evening twilight
12 August 2022 Saturn close to Full Moon (perigee "super" Moon)
15 August 2022 Saturn at opposition
15 August 2022 Jupiter close to Waning Moon (1 degree)
20 August 2022 Mars near Moon in Morning
22 August 2022 Jupiter near Moon
29 August 2022 Mercury near thin crescent Moon in evening sky, Mars between Pleiades and Hyades in the morning sky
September
3 September 2022 Mars forms second "eye" in Taurus the Bull with Aldebaran in morning sky
8 September 2022 Waxing moon close to Saturn in evening sky
11 September 2022 Waning Moon close to Jupiter in evening sky
23 September 2022 Earth at Equinox
27 September 2022 Jupiter at Opposition
October
5 October 2022 Saturn and waxing Moon close in evening sky
8 October 2022 Jupiter and waxing Moon close in evening sky
14 October 2022 Mars and the waxing Moon close in evening sky
21-22 October 2022 Orionid meteor shower
November
2 November 2022 Waxing Moon near Saturn in evening sky
4-5 November 2022Waxing Moon near Jupiter in evening sky
8 November 2022 Total Lunar Eclipse
11 November 2022 Waxing Moon near Mars in evening sky
18 November 2022Leonid Meteor Shower
December
2 December 2022 Jupiter and waxing Moon close
8 December 2022 Mars at opposition and close to Full Moon
14 December 2022
Geminid Meteor shower in the morning (waning Moon close this year)
22 December 2022 Earth is at Solstice
24 December 2022 Venus and Mercury and thin crescent Moon are close in evening twilight.
26 December
Saturn near crescent Moon
28-30 December 2022 Venus and Mercury at their closest in evening twilight.
29 December 2022 Jupiter close (1 degree) from the waning Moon in evening

Out in Space

Mars Curiosity Rover reroutes away from the gator-back rocks.

Mars Express finds Tantalizing tectonics.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter finds water flowed on Mars longer than previously though.

The newest rover, Perseverance's helecotre Ingenuity finds the wreckage of the landing craft.

The Juno mission sees X-rays in Jupiter's aurora.

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The Moon:

Current Phase of the Moon.
This is a JavaScript applet kindly supplied by Darren Osbourne. It shows the Moon as Southern Hemisphere viewers see it, and is upside down from the Northern Hemisphere perspective.

C| First quarter on the 8th
O Full Moon on the 14th
D Last quarter on the 21st
O New Moon is on the 29th

June 2; apogee Moon. June 8; First Quarter Moon. June 14; Full Moon. June 15; perigee Moon. June 17; June 18(morning 19); Saturn and waning Moon close. June 22; the waning Moon near Jupiter. June 23; Last Quarter Moon. June 23; Mars close to crescent moon. June 26; the thin crescent Moon is above Venus, forming a line with Aldebaran and Mercury, with the Pleiades nearby. June 27; the thin crescent Moon forms a rectangle with Mercury, Venus and Aldebaran. June 29; New Moon.

An interactive calendar of the Moon's phases.

A view of the phase of the Moon for any date from 1800 A.D. to 2199, US based, so that the Moon is upside down with respect to us. The image above is from this source.

The phases of the Moon have been linked in the popular imagination to activities as diverse as madness and menstruation. However, careful study has shown that there are no such links. This web page outlines how the Moon is unconnected with a wide range of human activities.

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Planets:

Finding planets, even with the directions below, can sometimes be difficult if you are unfamiliar with the sky. However, the Moon is very obvious, and can be a guide to location of planets. Not only that, the combination of the Moon and bright planet(s) is often very beautiful. Thus the guide below gives the dates when the planets and the Moon are close together.
morning sky on Wednesday, June 1 as seen from Adelaide at 6:15 am ACST

Morning sky on Wednesday, June 1 as seen from Adelaide at 6:15 am ACST (60 minutes before sunrise). Saturn, Jupiter, Mars Venus, and Mercury form a line. Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes before sunrise, click to embiggen).

Morning sky on Thursday June 23 as seen from Adelaide at 6:24 am ACST

Morning sky on Thursday June 23 as seen from Adelaide at 6:24 am ACST (60 minutes before sunrise). Mars is close to the crescent moon, Venus is close to the Pleiades and Mercury forms a second eye for Taurus the Bull. The location of the variable star Mira is indicated by a circle. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes before sunrise), click to embiggen.

Morning sky on Sunday June 26 as seen from Adelaide at 6:24 am ACST

Morning sky on Sunday June 26 as seen from Adelaide at 6:24 am ACST (60 minutes before sunrise). Venus and the thin crescent Moon are close and form a line with Albean and Mercury. The Pleiades are close by. The location of the variable star Mira is indicated by a circle. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes before sunrise), click to embiggen.

Mercury returns to the morning sky. But is low to the horizon until after the first week, then its is visible rising towards sinking Venus. It is at its greatest distance above the horizon on the 17th then sinks back. It forms a second eye for Taurus the Bull on the 22nd. On the 27th the thin crescent Moon form a rectangle with Mercury, Venus and Aldebaran.

On the 1st Mercury is just over two finger-widths from from the eastern horizon an hour before sunrise. On the 15th Mercury is just over one and a half hand-spans from the eastern horizon an hour before sunrise. By the 30th Mercury is just over three finger-widths from from the eastern horizon an hour before sunrise.

Venus starts the month below the pair of Mars and Jupiter. Venus sinks towards the horizon towards mercury and Uranus.

On the 11th to 13th Venus and Uranus are within 2° of each other and are visible together in binoculars of wide field telescope eye pieces.

On the 26th Venus and the thin crescent Moon are close, the Pleiades and Aldebaran and Mercury make this an attractive sight. On the 30th Venus forms a second eye for Taurus the Bull.

On the 1st Venus is just under four hand-spans the eastern horizon an hour before sunrise. By the 15th Venus is just over three hand-spans the eastern horizon 90 minutes before sunrise. On the 30th Venus is just over a hand-span the eastern horizon 90 minutes before sunrise.

Earth is at solstice on Tuesday the 21st, when the day is shortest.

Mars Mars and Jupiter start the month very close, not as spectacular as May 30th, the pair being 1.5 ° apart. After this Jupiter climbs away from Mars. On June 23, Mars is less than 1. ° from the crescent Moon.

On the 1st Mars is still just over seven hand-spans from the north-eastern horizon an hour and a half before sunrise, forming a line with Saturn, Venus and Jupiter. By the 15th Mars is still just over seven hand-spans from the north-eastern horizon an hour and a half before sunrise. On the 30th Mars is just under seven hand-spans from the north-eastern horizon an hour and a half before sunrise, forming a line with Saturn, Venus and Jupiter.

Jupiter Jupiter climbs higher in the morning sky and is an excellent telescopic object if you can get up that early. On the 22nd Jupiter is close to the waning Moon, forming a narrow triangle with Mars.

On the 1st Jupiter is just over seven hand-spans from the north-eastern horizon an hour and a half before sunrise. On the 15th Jupiter is just over eight hand-spans from the north-eastern horizon an hour and a half before sunrise. By the 30th it is just under nine hand-spans from the northern horizon an hour and a half before sunrise.

In either binoculars or a telescope Jupiter's Moons are always interesting.



Times are ACST, add 30 minutes for AEST and 2.5 hours for AWST. adjust for daylight savings as necessary.
Moons, Sat I= Io, II = Europa, III = Ganymede, IV = Callisto

Jupiter Events from 01 June 2022 to 30 June 2022

Date   Time (LMT)  Sat Event 
1, Jun, 04:57:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
3, Jun, 04:56:00 AM, I,Shadow transit start		
3, Jun, 06:13:00 AM, I,Transit start		
3, Jun, 06:36:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
4, Jun, 02:16:00 AM, I,Eclipse disappearance		
4, Jun, 02:27:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
4, Jun, 05:48:00 AM, I,Occultation reappearance		
5, Jun, 02:57:00 AM, I,Transit end		
5, Jun, 04:38:00 AM, IV,Eclipse disappearance		
5, Jun, 06:24:00 AM, II,Eclipse disappearance		
6, Jun, 02:45:00 AM, III,Transit start		
6, Jun, 04:06:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
6, Jun, 05:40:00 AM, III,Transit end		
7, Jun, 04:10:00 AM, II,Shadow transit end		
7, Jun, 04:13:00 AM, II,Transit start		
7, Jun, 06:47:00 AM, II,Transit end		
8, Jun, 05:44:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
9, Jun, 01:36:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
10, Jun, 06:50:00 AM, I,Shadow transit start		
11, Jun, 03:15:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
11, Jun, 04:10:00 AM, I,Eclipse disappearance		
12, Jun, 01:18:00 AM, I,Shadow transit start		
12, Jun, 02:40:00 AM, I,Transit start		
12, Jun, 03:33:00 AM, I,Shadow transit end		
12, Jun, 04:53:00 AM, I,Transit end		
13, Jun, 01:18:00 AM, III,Shadow transit start		
13, Jun, 02:14:00 AM, I,Occultation reappearance		
13, Jun, 04:28:00 AM, III,Shadow transit end		
13, Jun, 04:53:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
14, Jun, 04:07:00 AM, II,Shadow transit start		
14, Jun, 06:46:00 AM, II,Shadow transit end		
15, Jun, 06:32:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
16, Jun, 02:23:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
16, Jun, 03:37:00 AM, II,Occultation reappearance		
18, Jun, 04:02:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
18, Jun, 06:04:00 AM, I,Eclipse disappearance		
19, Jun, 03:12:00 AM, I,Shadow transit start		
19, Jun, 04:35:00 AM, I,Transit start		
19, Jun, 05:27:00 AM, I,Shadow transit end		
19, Jun, 06:48:00 AM, I,Transit end		
20, Jun, 04:10:00 AM, I,Occultation reappearance		
20, Jun, 05:19:00 AM, III,Shadow transit start		
20, Jun, 05:40:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
21, Jun, 01:17:00 AM, I,Transit end		
21, Jun, 01:32:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
21, Jun, 06:43:00 AM, II,Shadow transit start		
22, Jun, 01:02:00 AM, IV,Eclipse reappearance		
23, Jun, 12:53:00 AM, II,Eclipse disappearance		
23, Jun, 03:10:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
23, Jun, 03:31:00 AM, II,Eclipse reappearance		
23, Jun, 03:43:00 AM, II,Occultation disappearance		
23, Jun, 06:15:00 AM, II,Occultation reappearance		
24, Jun, 01:05:00 AM, III,Occultation disappearance		
24, Jun, 03:53:00 AM, III,Occultation reappearance		
25, Jun, 01:25:00 AM, II,Transit end		
25, Jun, 04:49:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
26, Jun, 12:40:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
26, Jun, 05:06:00 AM, I,Shadow transit start		
26, Jun, 06:30:00 AM, I,Transit start		
27, Jun, 02:27:00 AM, I,Eclipse disappearance		
27, Jun, 06:04:00 AM, I,Occultation reappearance		
27, Jun, 06:27:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
28, Jun, 12:58:00 AM, I,Transit start		
28, Jun, 01:49:00 AM, I,Shadow transit end		
28, Jun, 02:18:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
28, Jun, 03:12:00 AM, I,Transit end		
29, Jun, 12:33:00 AM, I,Occultation reappearance		
30, Jun, 03:28:00 AM, II,Eclipse disappearance		
30, Jun, 03:57:00 AM, n/a,Great Red Spot transit		
30, Jun, 06:06:00 AM, II,Eclipse reappearance		
30, Jun, 06:20:00 AM, II,Occultation disappearance		


Saturn now enters the evening sky, but remains best in the morning skies, from about the third week Saturn will be sufficiently high in the sky to clear a cluttered horizon, but not high enough for good telescopic observation. Saturn forms a shallow triangle with delta and gamma capricorni.

On the 19th the waning Moon is close to Saturn (not spectacularly though).

On the 1st Saturn is just over eleven hand-spans above the northern horizon an hour and a half before sunrise. On the 15th Saturn is just over ten hand-spans above the northern horizon an hour and a half before sunrise. On the 30th Saturn is just over nine hand-spans above the north-western horizon an hour and a half before sunrise.

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Iridium Flares, the International Space Station and other satellites

See this amazing site for images of the space station taken through a telescope.

The Iridium satellites have deorbited, However, other satellites do flares as well (bit more rarely) the visibility of Iridium flares is VERY dependent on observer position, so you need a prediction for your spot within about 30 km. Hence I'm referring you to a web site for predictions rather than doing it myself.


See the International Space Station at your Location. Courtesy of Heavens above. Choose your location from the drop down box

Or type in Your Latitude and Longitude in decimal format eg Darwin is -12.461 130.840 , to find your Lat Long go to this site.
Latitude: Longitude: City Time Zone:
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Meteor showers:

Date        	Meteor Shower       ZHR  Illumination 
10/06/2022  Ophiuchids           5   First Quarter Moon           

The figure ZHR is zenithal hourly rate. This is the number of meteors that a single observer would see per hour if the shower's "point of origin", or radiant, were at the zenith and the sky were dark enough for 6.5-magnitude stars to be visible to the naked eye. Illumination gives an idea of how dark the sky is, the lower the figure, the darker the sky.

The Ophiuchids are a weak meteor shower that are best seen between midnight to dawn. At midnight the radiant is four hand-spans to the right of bright red Antares in Scorpio. This year the waxing Moon light will not interfere.

Outside of the showers, you can still see sporadic meteors. Rates seen from dark skies in the Southern Hemisphere are around 16 random meteors being seen per hour during the late morning hours and 2-4 per hour during the evening. The evening rates will be reduced slightly during the times around the full Moon due to interference by the Moons light.

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Comets:

There are no unaided eye comets visible at the moment.

A list of current comet ephemerides is at the MPC.

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Occultations:

No interesting naked-eye occultations this month.