Night Sky: Night Planet Viewing


June is not the greatest month for constellation viewing since it's so light for so long. It really doesn't get dark until 10 p.m., and begins to brighten up at 4 a.m. So unless you like to stay up late, the only things you'll be able to see are the planets and some bright stars.

Since the new moon is tonight, we will be able to see some things. The first quarter moon is on June 17, making sky viewing not very good since it will shine brightly. The good thing about that is that you'll be able to view the moon.

I often get up during the night and look out the window. When the sky is clear, there are thousands of stars to look at making the sky beautiful. I only go out when there is a meteor shower to observe.

If you look in the northwest 30 minutes after the sun sets, you'll be able to see bright Venus low in the sky. I looked at it a few days ago, and it was wonderful to observe! It's in the top of the constellation Gemini the Twins, and you might see its two brightest stars Pollux and Castor. The constellation is basically a winter constellation when it's high in the sky.

Mars is slightly above and a little to the left of Venus. Since it's higher up, it will be visible after Venus goes down in the sky. Even though Venus is visible in a light sky, Mars won't be visible until the sky gets darker. Next month these two planets will meet up in the sky as Venus rises higher and stays visible longer.

Jupiter and Saturn rise a little after midnight and stay visible the rest of the night into the early morning sky. That's because they're bright like Venus. We'll be able to see them even when the sky starts to get light. They're in the south. So, if you want to get up a little early, you can look for them.

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