ASTRONOMERS frown somewhat at the month of June because of the very short period of night-time but this June there is a lot going on.

There is a partial eclipse of the Sun visible from Britain this month, June sees the beginning of the noctilucent, or ‘night shining’ cloud observing season and summer time officially begins this month.

On June 10, if the weather is clear we can see a partial eclipse of the Sun. This is the first partial eclipse since that of March 20, 2015.

At maximum as seen from the Yorkshire Dales at 11.13 am around 39 per cent of the face of the Sun will be covered by the Moon.

I need to issue a warning here, never look at the sun through a telescope or binoculars without a special filter, as this will almost certainly cause blindness.

The safest way to observe the eclipse is to project the image onto a white screen and then look at the screen and safely watch the event.

I am sure that there will be various astronomers showing the eclipse live via the internet.

The Moon starts covering the Sun at 10.06 am with maximum at 11.19 am and the eclipse will end at 12.24 pm.

An eclipse of the Sun occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun and blocks the light, sometimes as in this case the Moon does not cover the whole Sun so we see a partial eclipse.

This particular eclipse is called an annular eclipse because although the Moon is in front of the sun it is not quite large enough to cover the whole of the Sun.

Observers will therefore see a bright yellow ring around the Sun. The word annular comes from the Latin annulus or ring.

The path of this eclipse across the Earth is from eastern Canada, north western Greenland and finishing at the far north eastern corner of Russia.

The next total eclipse of the Sun that can be seen from Britain will be on September 23 2090.

Although we will have to wait late into the evenings before the sky gets dark, June heralds the beginning of the noctilucent, or ‘night shining’ cloud observing season.

The noctilucent clouds are beautiful, often eye catching, silver blue formations of ice crystals at very high level, reflecting the rays from the Sun just after it has set or before it rises.

Unlike normal day time clouds, noctilucent clouds form very high in the atmosphere at a height of about 50 miles, or 82 kilometres.

The nature of noctilucent clouds is not fully understood but it is believed that they are formed by very small grains of meteorite dust that are covered in ice.

Noctilucent clouds appear in a variety of forms, often seen as a bright herringbone pattern while at other times they are wispy in appearance.

As the month goes by, the chances of seeing the noctilucent clouds increase. They can, however, only be seen for a short period of time.

Over the next few weeks during twilight, an hour or so after the Sun sets or at dawn before the Sun rises, look to the north to see if there are any of those silver blue clouds. If they are there, you have seen a noctilucent cloud display.

Seeing the stars from town centres can be difficult due to light pollution making the sky too bright.

Observing noctilucent clouds, however, is not affected by this, which means that they can be seen either from the countryside or from town centres.

This month summer officially begins. On June 21, the Sun reaches its most northerly point in the sky at 4.32 am, marking the instant in time known as the Northern Hemisphere’s Summer Solstice.

The nights will be at their shortest for the next few weeks, making it difficult to see the stars until very late in the evening. In the Southern Hemisphere of course, winter officially begins.

The Plough has now shifted to a point somewhat westward of overhead but is still very high up. The ‘W’ of Cassiopeia has correspondingly gained a little height in the east.

The three stars that form the Summer Triangle, Altair in Aquila the Eagle, Deneb in Cygnus the Swan and Vega in Lyra the Lyre, are now all over the horizon and will dominate the sky during the summer months.

Arcturus, the bright orange star in Bootes the Herdsman, is now at its highest, while the other two mains stars of spring, Spica in Virgo the Virgin and Regulus in Leo the Lion, are now dropping westwards.

The large faint constellations of Hercules, Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer and Serpens the Serpent occupy much of the south eastern sky now and will be around in the southern sky during the summer months. Alphard, the Solitary One in Hydra the Water Snake has now set.

However, there is a bright newcomer; a red star called Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion, appearing low in the south east. It is a pity that the Scorpion never rises high in the sky in Britain as it is a grand constellation. I will take a closer look at Antares next month.

The Planets in June:

After Mercury’s wonderful show last month it is now to close to the Sun to be seen, this is the same case for Mars as well.

If you look to the south west the area of the sky that the Sun sets, it is possible to see the planet Venus for about an hour after sunset. It can be seen a s a bright white dot in the sky.

If you want to see the planets Jupiter and Saturn you will have to be up before the Sun rises. They can both be seen in the morning sky before the Sun rises.

Meteor Showers:

There are no major meteor showers predicted for this month.

Phases of the Moon for June:

Last Quarter 2; New Moon 10; First Quarter 18; Full Moon 24.

The Moon can sometimes help us find the naked eye planets in the sky and during June in the morning skies of June 27, 28, and June 29 it will be seen passing under the planets Jupiter and Saturn.

The Full Moon in June which is the last of the super moons for this year is called the Strawberry Moon, because this is the time of the year when the strawberry, considered the most celebrated and important of the berries, was traditionally harvested.

Nowadays the strawberry season lasts much longer.