What to See in the Night Sky for June 2022

A rare planetary alignment, the solstice, and meteor showers welcome summer.

campers under a starry night sky with illuminated tent behind them

anatoliy_gleb / Getty Images

It’s here. After months of flirting with warmer weather, June has finally arrived to welcome back barbecues, sunscreen, water balloons, fire pits, camping, gardening, and more. Depending on where you live, it’s also one of the few times in the year when the the stars above face some fierce competition from the fireflies below.

Welcome back, nature—we’ve missed you. In celebration, check out some of June’s nighttime (and even daytime) highlights below. Wishing you clear skies!

The Hercules Globular Cluster (M13) is our recommended dark sky object for June
The Hercules Globular Cluster (M13) is our recommended dark sky object for June.

Sid Leach/Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/CC 2.0

May’s Late New Moon Kicks Off Dark Skies (June 1)

Thanks to a late new moon on May 30, June will kick off with some exceptionally dark skies. For the first week at least, you can train your eyes, binoculars, or telescope and be treated to pristine views of galaxies, shooting stars, and other wonders otherwise dimmed by moonlight.

Need a target? This month, in honor of summer’s official arrival, we’re recommending the Hercules Globular Cluster (M13). Discovered in 1714 by Edmond Halley and located a scant 25,000 light-years from Earth, this globular cluster of several hundred thousand stars is one hundred times more densely packed than that of any stars near our own sun. According to NASA, the celestial traffic within M13 is so bad that stars often collide with one another to form new stars. It is best observed during spring and summer and can be found in the constellation Hercules. 

Potential First Orbital Test of SpaceX Starship (All Month)

With a lengthy environmental review by the Federal Aviation Administration scheduled to be completed by the end of May, SpaceX is setting its sights on either June or July for the first orbital test launch of Starship. The spacecraft, the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful rocket ever built, is intended not only to land NASA astronauts on the moon, but also eventually to carry humans to the surface of Mars.

While we have no definitive dates for the launch as of yet, the rollout of Starship SN24, the newest orbital-class version of the rocket, for preliminary testing is a sign that we’re getting close! Keep this historic test launch on your radar as we move into summer.

Imagine the Beauty of the Arietids Meteor Shower (June 7) 

With a peak display of more than 60 shooting stars each hour, the Arietids are one of the best meteor showers of the year. There's only one problem: they're nearly impossible to see. Unlike the Leonids or the Perseids, the Arietids are one of a few meteor showers that peak during the daylight hours.

Despite the sun obscuring much of the Arietids' fiery display, there's still a chance to catch some before sunrise on the mornings of June 7 and 8. And if waking up early to see shooting stars is disagreeable, why not try hearing them? The Arietids are also known as a "radio shower" due to the way their intense speed (upwards of 75,000 mph) through Earth's atmosphere creates whining radar echoes. According to NASA, you can listen to them burning up by simply using a ham radio.

View the Sweet Beauty of the Super Strawberry Moon (June 14) 

June’s full moon, nicknamed the “Strawberry Moon’’ after the ripening crops of the eponymous sweet fruit, will reach its peak at 7:52 a.m. EDT on June 14. Naturally, we won’t get to enjoy it until later that evening, but when it does rise (around 9:10 p.m.) it will appear brighter and larger than usual. This is because June’s full moon is also this year’s second “supermoon,” a nickname for when the moon is both full and at the closest point in its orbit to Earth. 

Wake Up and Enjoy the Earliest Sunrise of the Year (June 14) 

While the summer solstice on June 21 is the longest day of the year, it's not the one with the earliest sunrise. What gives? There are a variety of factors that influence this quirk involving the speed and slightly elliptical path of Earth's orbit around the sun and the tilt of its axis. The math all adds up to make the earliest sunrise about a week before the summer solstice and the latest sunset about a week after.

The exact date of this depends on what latitude you reside. So, for instance, if you live near the mid-northern latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or Boulder, Colorado), you could expect the earliest sunrise of the year to occur on June 14 at 5:31 a.m. Either way, it’s a great excuse to grab a cup of coffee, sit outside, and relish summer's impending return.

Welcome the Summer Solstice & Longest Day (June 21)

The summer solstice, the astronomical start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere (and conversely, the start of winter in the Southern), will occur on June 21 at 5:14 a.m. At this moment, the Earth will be at the point in its orbit where the North Pole is at its maximum tilt. For those of us up north, this gives us our longest day of the year with anywhere from 13 hours and 45 minutes (Miami, Fl.) to 19 hours and 21 minutes (Anchorage, AK) of daylight. With the sun directly overhead at noon, it’s also the day that you’ll cast your shortest shadow. After the 21st, we’ll once again start losing daylight and begin the long march back toward the darker days of winter, so enjoy it while you can!

Wake Up Early for a Five-Planet Alignment (June 24)

five-planet alignment chart


Building on May’s planet parade, June will turn things up a notch with a rare five-planet alignment coupled with a crescent moon. The best time to catch the alignment of Mercury, Venus, the moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will be on June 24th in the very early morning hours just before dawn (the image above shows the alignment at approximately 4:35 a.m. EDT on June 24), but you’ll have similar chances in the mornings just before and after. It’s also worth nothing that this is actually a six-planet alignment, with Uranus just to the left of Mars, but it’s notoriously difficult to spot. 

Grab a Drink, Relax, and Enjoy the Year’s Latest Sunset (June 27)

June 27th for us northern dwellers marks the year’s latest sunset, with locations like New York City watching the sun slip below the horizon at 8:31 p.m. EDT. While you’re at it, stay up a few more hours to...

Catch the Bootids Meteor Shower (June 27)

Bootids meteor shower
Look to the western horizon a little after midnight on June 27 to spy some Bootids.


The end of June brings the return of the Bootids meteor shower, an annual event that (thankfully) can be enjoyed during the evening hours. Well, "enjoyed" may not be the right word, as the Bootids are notorious for having extremely weak displays, with as little as two to three shooting stars per hour. The reason they're worth mentioning at all is because some years, they've littered the sky with streaks of light.

On June 27, 1998, as many as 100 meteors per hour fell over the course of the seven-hour event. According to Spaceweather, similar outbursts occurred in 1916, 1921, and 1927. Could 2022 join that historic group? To give the Bootids a shot, look towards the constellation Bootes, which lies to the left of the Little Dipper.

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