Jupiter and Saturn light up the night sky, and Venus graces us on June morn­ings

The Washington Post Sunday - - LOCAL OPINIONS - BY BLAINE P. FRIEDLANDER JR. Blaine Friedlander can be reached at PostSkyWatch@ya­hoo.com.

Sum­mer soon ar­rives, and the big plan­ets Jupiter and Saturn will en­ter­tain evening on­look­ers, Venus will dis­tract morn­ing dog walk­ers and Mars starts a sea­son-long hia­tus.

Catch a fat­ten­ing, wax­ing moon as it ap­proaches the bright Jupiter (-2.2 mag­ni­tude) in the south­ern sky on the evening of June 2 and then scoot­ing past the planet June 3. Our lu­nar neigh­bor sails over the star Spica on June 4. The large, gaseous planet — ap­pear­ing to float through the con­stel­la­tion Virgo now — rises in the midafter­noon through­out June and hits due south soon af­ter night­fall early in the month.

Saturn reaches op­po­si­tion June 15, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Naval Ob­ser­va­tory, when the ringed planet is op­po­site the sun from Earth’s per­spec­tive. Think of it as a “full” Saturn. For the month, the ringed planet will be zero mag­ni­tude, bright enough to see from city lo­ca­tions. Early in the month, it rises around 9 p.m., but rises near 8:20 p.m. (be­fore the sun sets) in mid-June. Find it in the later evening, low in the south­east­ern sky. It then cruises south and you can catch it be­fore sun­rise in the south­west.

The full moon on June 9 loi­ters near Saturn on June 9-10. It’s the small­est full moon of the year.

Bon voy­age to our neigh­bor­ing Mars for the sum­mer. From our earthly per­spec­tive, the Red Planet will be too close to the sun to see un­til Septem­ber — when it re­turns to the morn­ing sky.

Venus as­cends the east­ern, morn­ing heav­ens early in June, bril­liantly cap­tur­ing our cos­mic hearts at -4.5 mag­ni­tude, quite bright. By mid-month, the planet is slightly less lu­mi­nous at -4.3 mag­ni­tude — which ain’t too shabby. Look to the east be­fore dawn as you’re walk­ing the dog or tak­ing a jog. It’s hard to miss Venus. The wan­ing cres­cent moon meets the planet on the morn­ings of June 20-21.

It’s lu­nacy: June fea­tures two first-quar­ter moons for the United States. For the East Coast this month, the first-quar­ter moon oc­curs at 8:42 a.m. East­ern Day­light time on June 1, ac­cord­ing to the Naval Ob­ser­va­tory. The sec­ond firstquar­ter moon oc­curs June 30 at 8:51 p.m. EDT.

Sum­mer of­fi­cially starts with the sol­stice June 21 at 12:24 a.m., the point where the sun ap­pears to touch the Tropic of Can­cer in the North­ern Hemi­sphere. Wash­ing­ton gets 14 hours and 54 min­utes of day­light on June 18-23, ac­cord­ing to the ob­ser­va­tory. Dur­ing the June 1017 pe­riod, we see the year’s ear­li­est sun­rise at 5:42 a.m. for Wash­ing­ton. Our lat­est sun­set is 8:38 p.m. for June 27-28. Down-to-Earth events:

June 2 — See the sun safely, and catch Saturn, Jupiter and other ob­jects through tele­scopes and binoc­u­lars at the Astron­omy Fes­ti­val on the Mall. Find the cos­mic frolic on the cor­ner of the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment grounds, near 15th Street and Con­sti­tu­tion Av­enue NW. 6 -11 p.m. Hosted by Long Is­land’s Hof­s­tra Uni­ver­sity. www.hof­s­tra.edu/dc­stars. (In case of rain: School With­out Walls High School, 2130 G St. NW.)

June 5 — Sum­mer is here with the “Stars Tonight” at the David M. Brown Plan­e­tar­ium, 1426 N. Quincy St., Ar­ling­ton, ad­ja­cent to Wash­ing­ton-Lee High School. 7:30 p.m. $3. friend­soft­he­p­lan­e­tar­ium.org.

June 5 — “Quasars and Su­per­mas­sive Black Holes,” a talk by astronomer Syl­vain Veilleux, at the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land’s Ob­ser­va­tory, Col­lege Park. Weather per­mit­ting, scan the night sky through tele­scopes af­ter­ward. 9 p.m. astro.umd.edu/ open­house.

June 10 — Be spell­bound and be­daz­zled by sci­ence fair win­ner pre­sen­ta­tions at the Na­tional Cap­i­tal As­tronomers meet­ing, held at the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Ob­ser­va­tory, Col­lege Park. 7:30 p.m. cap­i­ta­las­tronomers.org.

June 11 — “The Sud­bury Me­teor Im­pact Event,” a talk by ge­ol­o­gist Bill Can­non, who will dis­cuss the large crater about 250 miles north­west of Toronto, at the North­ern Vir­ginia Astron­omy Club’s reg­u­lar meet­ing, 163 Re­search Hall, Ge­orge Ma­son Uni­ver­sity. 7 p.m. no­vac.com.

June 17 — See the heav­ens from in­side Wash­ing­ton at “Ex­plor­ing the Sky,” hosted by the Na­tional Park Ser­vice and the Na­tional Cap­i­tal As­tronomers, at Rock Creek Park, near the Na­ture Cen­ter, in the field south of Mil­i­tary and Glover roads NW. 9 p.m. cap­i­ta­las­tronomers.org.

June 20 — As­tronomers con­verse on the uni­verse and then sa­vor the heav­ens through tele­scopes, weather per­mit­ting, at the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land’s Ob­ser­va­tory, Col­lege Park. 9 p.m. astro.umd.edu/open­house.

June 22 — “The Grand Tour: Ex­plor­ing Plan­ets Out­side the So­lar Sys­tem,” a lec­ture by astronomer Heather Knut­son, Cal­i­for­nia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, at the Lock­heed Martin Imax The­ater, Na­tional Air and Space Mu­seum. 8 p.m. airandspace.si.edu.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.