June is a quiet month for astronomical events, but many different missions are being launched from various companies. Here are some of June’s most anticipated astronomical phenomena and rocket launches.
The month begins with the rising of the full moon of June, also known as the Strawberry Moon, rising at 11:41 PM (Eastern Standard Time) on June 3. This moon is typically the final full moon of the spring season or the first of summer, and is named for the ripening berries that arrive during this part of the year. It has also been called the Blooming Moon, the Birth Moon, the Hatching Moon, and the Green Corn Moon after various activities that normally take place in early June.
A few notable SpaceX events are also occurring on June 3. A Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Dragon 2 spacecraft to the International Space Station from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Another Falcon 9 rocket is taking off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station to launch a batch of second-generation Starlink satellites on the same day.
(A Falcon 9 rocket lifting off from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The Falcon 9 now has over 200 successful launches under its belt, and will complete two more on June 3, 2023. Photo credits: SpaceX)
Another launch will be taking place on June 8. A Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Transporter-8 mission from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. Transporter-8 is a rideshare mission to a sun-synchronous orbit carrying dozens of nanosatellites and microsatellites intended for government and commercial use.
(A Falcon 9 rocket launching the Transporter-1 rideshare mission from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, on January 24, 2021. This first mission transported 143 satellites into orbit. Photo credits: SpaceX)
On June 16, both the Heinrich Hertz and Syracuse 4B missions will be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana. The Heinrich Hertz mission, named for the famed German physicist, has over 20 tests and experiments onboard and will test various technologies for future satellite missions, while the Syracuse 4B mission is a military communications satellite constructed by Thales Alenia Space.
(An Ariane 5 rocket launching from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on December 25, 2021. Photo credits: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)
The June solstice will take place at 10:58 AM (Eastern Standard Time) on June 21. This day marks the point in the year at which the sun is at its northernmost position in the sky. In the Northern Hemisphere, this day will be the longest of the year with the shortest night and is typically considered the first day of summer. In the Southern Hemisphere, the opposite will occur, with a longer night and shorter day and the beginning of winter.
Many of these missions will soon begin to provide new observations and information for us to learn from, and watching them launch this month will give each of us a chance to become part of astronomical history later in the year.
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