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Nighttrek Report: What to See in the June Sky

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By Neill Simmons

Last month, the Sun sent us an aurora borealis light show that was seen as far south as Kern County.  The aurora is caused by activity on the surface of the Sun.  Solar storms on the Sun’s surface give out huge clouds of electrically charged particles resulting in beautiful displays of light in the night sky. Astronomers are predicting another “bigger” solar eruption in June.  Hopefully, keep your figures crossed, it will be seen in the San Fernando Valley.  

FUN FACT:  A great place to see auroras is on the planet Mars!  On Earth, auroras can only be seen at night.  NASA reported that Martian probes are seeing the display in the day sky also.

The full Moon of June is called the “Strawberry Moon” as this is the best time to gather this fruit.  Strawberries have adapted to grow in many different climates and can also be produced in colder areas.  There is a little growing area on the International Space Station where strawberries are being grown.

“Spring up and fall down” is a way to remember the orientation of the Big Dipper constellation.  The seven bright stars that make up Ursa Major are high in the spring and slowly dip down during the summer to their lowest point in the autumn.  Canadian Indian tribes tell the story that the great bear hit his nose on a rock and the resulting blood turned the leaves red in the autumn.  The second star of the handle is actually two stars, Mizel and Alcor,    appearing as one.  On a clear dark night, both stars may be visible.

June brings the giant “Summer Triangle.”  This star pattern is so bright we can even see it from Dodger Stadium during a game!  The Summer Triangle is not a constellation.  It is an asterism, which is a fancy name for a pattern of stars.  Although the Summer Triangle is brightest during the summer, it continues to be visible until December.

Vandenberg Space Force Base and Space X have been launching many rockets this year to put satellites into orbit.  Elon Musk is funding the program.  Watch their websites for further information as to when the next launch is.

Griffith Park Observatory is having a Star Party on the front lawn on Saturday, June 15.  There will be lots of telescopes set up for your use.  This is a free event.

When not stargazing, Neill Simmons is a Wealth Advisor with LPL Financial in Woodland Hills.  If you have any astronomy or financial questions, he may be reached at (818) 936-2626 or email

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