This is the Iris Nebula, NGC 7023. It was discovered in 1794 by William Herschel.
The Iris Nebula is a reflection nebula located about halfway between Polaris and Deneb. It has a visual magnitude of +7.2 and is 1,400 light years away from us. NGC 7023 is about 6 light years in diameter. It reflects the light of the 7th magnitude star in the center of the image. You can also see dark areas of star dust throughout the nebula.
NGC 7023 is a prominent resident of our northern skies at this time of year. Due to the 23.5 degree tilt of the Earth’s axis towards the sun, NGC 7023 never sets! That tilt is also responsible for the longer days we experience at this time of year and the hot weather we experience! June 21 is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Sunrise to sunset will be about 14 hours and 34 minutes, After June 21, the days will start to get shorter until the Winter Solstice on December 21.
What to look for in June 2019
Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto will be in the SE skies as May turns into June. Jupiter and Saturn are both pretty bright and easy to locate. Pluto, on the other hand, is very dim (magnitude +14.3) and close to impossible to see unless you have access to some very sophisticated equipment. But, you can cheat a little on June 1. Find Saturn, and you can be just about sure Pluto is in your field of view. It’s a little to the left and below the ringed planet. You won’t see it, but you can say you looked at it.
Neptune rises at 1:56 a.m. followed by Uranus at 3:54 a.m. Both are best viewed through a telescope.
Venus rises at 4:45 a.m. It will be in close proximity to the waning moon. With a visual magnitude of -3.9 Venus, will be significantly brighter then the moon (mag. -3.) The sun rises at 5:47 a.m. so it’s a good morning to go out on the beach early and view both Venus and the Sunrise!
There are no major meteor showers in June.
- New Moon is June 3
- 1st Quarter is June 10
- Full Moon is June 17
- Last Quarter is June 25