June-July 1998 Almanac

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Photo by Novosti/Science Photo Library
Notable June-July events: on June 16, 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman launched into space.

The June-July period includes some of humanity’s most noted ventures into outer space.

June 1998

2 Coronation Day (in U.K.).
3 First American spacewalk, by Edward White on Gemini 4 in 1965.
6 World Environment Day.
7 Trinity Sunday.
10 FULL MOON, 12:18 A.M. EDT; Mercury at superior conjunction with Sun and unviewable (see later this month); date on which Ben Franklin is reputed to have performed his kite in a lightning storm experiment
11 Corpus Christi; King Kamehameha I Day (Hawaii).
14 Earliest sunrise (5:30 A.M. daylight saving time) for 40° North latitude.
16 First woman—Valentina Tereshkova—launched into space on Vostok 6 in 1963.
17 Bunker Hill Day (Boston and Suffolk Co., Mass.); Moon to lower right of Jupiter before dawn.
18 First U.S. woman launched into space—Sally Ride—on Challenger this day 15 years ago.
19 Moon to right of Saturn before dawn.
20 West Virginia Day.
21 Father’s Day; Summer solstice, 10:03 A.M. EDT—summer begins in Northern Hemisphere of Earth.
22 Pluto’s moon Charon (pronounced KAIR-on) discovered this day 20 years ago by U.S. Naval Observatory astronomer James Christy.
24 Midsummer’s Day; St. John’s (the Baptist’s) Day.
25 Mercury visible low in west-northwest about 45 minutes after sunset, about one width of your fist held out at arm’s length to the left of a very thin crescent Moon.
27 Latest sunset (8:33 P.M. daylight saving time) for 40° North latitude.
28 Mercury makes line with stars Pollux and Castor (to right of Mercury), low in west-northwest about 45 minutes after sunset.
30 Ninetieth anniversary of the Tunguska Event, mysterious explosion over Siberia.

July 1998

1 FIRST QUARTER MOON, 2:43 P.M. EDT (rust instance of this phase this month); Canada Day.
2 Midpoint of the year at 1 P.M. local time if you are on daylight saving time (noon, if you are on standard time).
4 Independence Day—this year, 222nd anniversary of signing of the Declaration of Independence; this day in 1956, Unionville, Maryland received 1.23 inches of rain—in 1 minute!
5 Brilliant Venus to left of V-shaped Hyades star cluster (face of Taurus the Bull) before dawn.
6 A foot and a half of snow fell on the summit of Pikes Peak on July 6-7 in 1883.
8 Mercury at highest in west-northwest during dusk (look for it about 45 minutes after sunset) for anywhere near 40° North latitude; Venus extremely near a star in Taurus before dawn (telescope needed).
9 FULL MOON, 12:01 P.M. EDT.
10 Temperature hit 134°F, an all-time record for the Western Hemisphere, in Death Valley, California this day in 1913; Martinsburg, West Virginia had high of 112°F (tied for highest ever in U.S. east of Appalachians) on this day in 1936.
11 Pieces of the Skylab space station survived re-entry to crash in the Indian Ocean and Australia in 1979.
12 On this one day in 1940, lightning started 538 fires in the northern Rockies.
13 Barrow, Alaska — the northernmost town in the U.S. — hit an all-time record high of 79°F in 1993.
14 Spring comes to life in the Northern Hemisphere — of Mars!
15 Moon lower left of Jupiter before dawn; Venus near the star Zeta Tauri (use binoculars) before dawn.
16 LAST QUARTER MOON, 11:13 A.M. EDT; first atom bomb explosion took place this day in 1945.
17 Moon below Saturn before dawn; Mercury at greatest evening elongation from Sun (28°).
18 Jupiter reaches stationary point then begins retrograde motion (westward relative to background stars).
20 Sun enters the constellation Cancer, 6 P.M. EDT.
21 Moon well to right of bright Venus and dim Mars before dawn; Venus near star cluster M35 in Gemini (use binoculars or telescope).
23 NEW MOON, 9:44 A.M. EDT; Neptune at opposition — biggest and brightest of year, but you’ll still need a telescope and finder chart.
24 Pioneer Day (Utah); in 1959, temperature hit a low of 89°F in Yuma, Arizona.
25 In 1956, the passenger liners Andrea Doria and Stockholm collided in fog off Nantucket; the former sank 12 hours later, killing 51.
28 Delta Aquarid meteor shower at its peak around now — look for these “shooting stars” from out of the south in the hours following midnight. Some will still be visible as late as two weeks from now.
29 Venus and Mars pull closer together in the dawn sky as the month ends.
31 The lunar rover carried Apollo 15°s Scott and Irwin completely around the lunar surface in 1971.