Return to the Sea and Sky Home Page Return to Home Page Explore the Seas and Oceans Explore the Universe and Solar System Return to the Sky Menu
Return to the Sea and Sky Home Page
About Sea and Sky What's New at Sea and Sky Frequently Asked Questions
Sea and Sky Awards Sign Our Guest Book Search Sea and Sky Contact Sea and Sky Sea and Sky's Privacy Policy
Return to the Sky Menu
Return to the Sea and Sky Home Page
Return to Pictures in the Sky  
 
 


June Constellations

May Constellations | Constellations Menu | July Constellations

The five June constellations include such popular groups as Boötes, the bear driver, Libra, the scales, and Ursa Minor, the little bear. Ursa Minor is home to two of the most well known objects in the night sky: the Little Dipper and Polaris, the North Star. Polaris is actually located in the tip of the handle of the little dipper and marks the north celestial pole, the point in the sky around which all of the stars appear to circle in the northern hemisphere. There are no Messier objects to be found in these constellations, but Boötes does contain a few notable stars, including Arcturis, a red-giant star which is the 4th brightest star in the sky.

Boötes | Circinus | Libra | Lupus | Ursa Minor

  Boötes The Bear Driver  

Pronunciation:  (boo-OH-teez) 
Abbreviation:  Boo   Genitive:  Boötis
Right Ascension:  14.73 hours   Declination:  30.72 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
907
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, June 15

Boötes is visible in the northern hemisphere from spring through the summer. It represents a hunter. Along with his faithful hounds, Canes Venatici, he follows the two bears, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, around the pole. Many believe Boötes to be the most ancient constellation in the sky. Its first recorded appearance was in Homer's book, The Odyssey, almost three thousand years ago. The constellation has been recognized by many cultures throughout the ages in many forms. The constellation was once known as Arctophylax, which means "the protector of the Bear". The Romans called him Venator Ursae, "the Bear Hunter". Boötes is the home of Arcturis, the 4th brightest star in the night sky. Arcturis is an orange-red giant star about 20 times the size of the Sun. Boötes contains no Messier objects.

Points of Interest in Boötes
Diagram of the constellation Boötes Object Name Type/Translation V Mag
1 Arcturus "Bear Guard" -0.04
2 Nekkar "Cattleman" 3.50
3 Seginus * 3.03
4 Izar "Loincloth" 2.70
5 Mufrid "The Solitary" 2.68
6 Asellus Primus * 4.05
7 Asellus Secondus * 4.75
8 Asellus Tertius * 4.54
9 Alkalurops "Shepherd's Crook" 4.05
10 Merga * 5.74
Return to top of page
  Circinus The Compass  

Pronunciation:  (SER-sin-us) 
Abbreviation:  Cir   Genitive:  Circini
Right Ascension:  15.08 hours   Declination:  -59.02 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
93
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, June 20

Circinus is visible from the northern latitudes south of 30 degrees north and all of the southern latitudes from March through May. It is one of the 15 southern constellations named by Abbé Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. It was named for its shape, which resembles a drawing compass. This constellation contains no Messier objects and is composed mainly of faint stars.

Points of Interest in Circinus
Diagram of the constellation Circinus
None.

This constellation is composed mainly of faint stars.

Return to top of page
  Libra The Scales  

Pronunciation:  (LEE-bruh) 
Abbreviation:  Lib   Genitive:  Librae
Right Ascension:  15.21 hours   Declination:  -15.59 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
538
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, June 20

Libra, the Scales, can be found between Scorpius and Virgo. It is the age-old symbol of justice, harmony and balance. It is one of the 13 constellations of the Zodiac. This constellation received its name thousands of years ago when it was noticed that the Sun passes through it during the autumnal equinox, when day and night are of equal length. Libra represented justice as a symbol for equality in several Middle Eastern cultures. Libra has held different meanings for different cultures. To the ancient Greeks, it represented the claws of the scorpion. To the Romans, it was the golden chariot of Pluto, god of the Underworld. Today it is seen as a universal symbol of balance, harmony, and justice. Libra contains no Messier objects and no deep sky objects of interest.

Points of Interest in Libra
Diagram of the constellation Libra Object Name Type/Translation V Mag
1 Zuben Elgenubi "Southern Claw of the Scorpion" 2.75
2 Zuben Elschemali "Northern Claw of the Scorpion" 2.61
3 Zuben Elakrab * 3.91
4 Zuben Elakribi * 4.92
5 Brachium * 3.29
Return to top of page
  Lupus The Wolf  

Pronunciation:  (LOO-pus) 
Abbreviation:  Lup   Genitive:  Lupi
Right Ascension:  15.4 hours   Declination:  -42.96 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
334
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, June 20

Lupus, the Wolf, is located between Centaurus and Hydra. It is best seen in the northern hemisphere in June. The shape of this constellation is not very obvious. It was seen as an unidentified animal to the Greeks and Romans, and has only recently been referred to as a wolf. Be careful not to confuse Lupus with another constellation Lepus, the rabbit. Lupus contains no Messier objects and, with the exception of a couple of faint clusters, contains no notable items of interest.

Points of Interest in Lupus
Diagram of the constellation Lupus
None.

This constellation is composed mainly of faint stars.

Return to top of page
  Ursa Minor The Little Bear  

Pronunciation:  (ER-suh MY-ner) 
Abbreviation:  UMi   Genitive:  Ursae Minoris
Right Ascension:  14.78 hours   Declination:  74.36 degrees
Area in Square Degrees: 
256
Crosses Meridian:  9 PM, June 25

Ursa Minor, the Little Bear, is visible in the northern hemisphere all year long. This constellation is famous for a group of stars known as the Little Dipper and for Polaris, the North Star, which is located at the tip of the dipper's handle. Polaris is called the North Star because it is the closest star to the North Celestial Pole. This means that as the Earth rotates, Polaris appears to remain stationary in the sky while all of the other stars rotate around it. Polaris can be located by finding the two stars in the edge of the cup in the Big Dipper and following an imaginary line outwards, away from the cup. The next bright star you encounter will be Polaris. Because the Earth wobbles slightly as it rotates on its axis, Polaris will not always be the North Star. In about 14,000 years the north celestial pole will point away from Polaris and toward Vega. This process is known as procession. The constellation contains only a few stars and no Messier objects.

Points of Interest in Ursa Minor
Diagram of the constellation Ursa Minor Object Name Type/Translation V Mag
1 Polaris "Pole Star" 2.02
2 Kocab "Star" 2.08
3 Pherkad "Calf" 3.05
4 Yildun "Star" 4.36
5 Pherkad Minor * 5.02
Return to top of page

May Constellations | Constellations Menu | July Constellations