Must-See Skywatching Events for June 2012

June 4, 2012 Partial Lunar Eclipse Sky Map
Sky map for the June 4, 2012, partial lunar eclipse. (Image credit: Starry Night Software)

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In June 2012, the full moon dips through Earth's shadow in a partial lunar eclipse, then Venus crosses the face of the sun in a rare transit - the last for more than 100 years. Take a look at June's most promising skywatching events below and happy stargazing!

Moon Phases

Mon., June 4, 7:12 a.m. EDT

Full Moon

The Full Moon of June is usually called the Flower Moon. In Algonquian it is called Strawberry Moon. Other names are Honey Moon, Rose Moon, Hot Moon, and Planting Moon. In Hindi it is known as Wat Poornima. Its Sinhala (Buddhist) name is Poson. The Full Moon rises around sunset and sets around sunrise, the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the Moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.

Mon., June 11, 6:41 a.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

The Last or Third Quarter Moon rises around 1 a.m. and sets around 1:45 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Tue., June 19, 11:02 a.m. EDT

New Moon

The Moon is not visible on the date of New Moon because it is too close to the Sun, but can be seen low in the east as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the west an evening or two after New Moon.

Tue., June 26, 11:30 p.m. EDT

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around 1 p.m. and sets around 12:45 a.m.

Observing Highlights

Mon., June 4, morning

Partial lunar eclipse

partial eclipse of the Moon  visible over western North America, here seen just before sunrise from Canyon de Chelly, Arizona.


Tue., June 5, afternoon

Transit of Venus

The last chance to see Venus pass between Earth and the Sun in the 21st century. The 2012 transit of Venus  is the last one visible from Earth until 2117.

The transit of Venus will take place June 5-6, 2012. (Image credit: Starry Night Software)


Sun., June 17, dawn

Triple conjunction:  Moon, Venus, Jupiter

The three brightest objects in the night sky are gathered together in a triple conjunction at dawn in the constellation Taurus.

The moon, Venus and Jupiter are visible together on June 17, 2012. (Image credit: Starry Night Software)


Thu., June 21, evening twilight

Castor, Pollux, Mercury and the Moon

Just after sunset, a slender crescent Moon points the way to the planet Mercury and the twin stars Castor and Pollux in the constellation Gemini.

Castor, Pollux, Mercury and the Moon are visible together on June 21, 2012. (Image credit: Starry Night Software)

Wed., June 27, evening

Triple conjunction:  Moon, Saturn, Spica

Another triple conjunction: Saturn and the first quarter Moon join the first magnitude star Spica in Virgo in the southwestern sky just after evening twilight.

The Moon, Saturn and Spica are visible together June 27, 2012. (Image credit: Starry Night Software)



Mercury is in the evening sky but very close to the Sun all month.

Venus moves from being an evening “star” to being a morning “star” by passing in front of the Sun on June 5.

Mars is shrinking rapidly in size and brightness. On June 21 it moves from Leo into Virgo. Mars is high in the southwest at sunset and sets around 1 a.m.

Jupiter reappears in the morning sky in Taurus, approaching Venus towards the end of the month.

Saturn continues to be a  bright object in Virgo, setting around 2:30 a.m.

Uranus spends the month in the morning sky in the northwestern corner of the constellation Cetus, a rather strange place for a planet to be, since it is not one of the twelve zodiac constellations..

Neptune rises around 1 a.m. in Aquarius, and is visible the rest of the night.

This article was provided to by Starry Night Education, the leader in space science curriculum solutions. Follow Starry Night on Twitter @StarryNightEdu

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Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Sky Columnist

Geoff Gaherty was's Night Sky columnist and in partnership with Starry Night software and a dedicated amateur astronomer who sought to share the wonders of the night sky with the world. Based in Canada, Geoff studied mathematics and physics at McGill University and earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Toronto, all while pursuing a passion for the night sky and serving as an astronomy communicator. He credited a partial solar eclipse observed in 1946 (at age 5) and his 1957 sighting of the Comet Arend-Roland as a teenager for sparking his interest in amateur astronomy. In 2008, Geoff won the Chant Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, an award given to a Canadian amateur astronomer in recognition of their lifetime achievements. Sadly, Geoff passed away July 7, 2016 due to complications from a kidney transplant, but his legacy continues at Starry Night.