A much delayed post this month but hopefully everyone has been out on the few clear nights we have had recently and observed the beautiful celestial show put on by the crescent moon, Venus and Jupiter. While the Trust Talk event was mostly cloudy (we did manage to sneak in a view of Venus at half phase between breaks in the clouds), the last two nights have been very nice. Over the next few nights Venus and Jupiter get even closer as the Moon moves higher. On the 30th they are close enough to be called a ‘conjunction’ when they are only 1/3 rd of a degree apart and hard to separate without binoculars.
Saturn is rising higher in the southeast as the month progresses and looks stunning through a small telescope with the rings clearly visible. June will be the best month to view Saturn for the rest of the year as it is just coming out of its opposition and closest part of its orbit to Earth.
Friday night with the observatory full of young folks, we spotted at least a dozen satellites whizzing by. The period from dusk until about 10:30 is the prime time to see satellites as they are only visible when they reflect light from the recently set Sun. Tonight (June 22nd) be sure to look for the International Space Station (ISS). It will not be truly dark (which is why this pass does not show up on Heavens-Above) but if its clear is should be very visible passing almost directly overhead.
Thats all for this month.
Jim Stratigos – Resident Astronomer