Typically when you look into the night sky, you think of all of the twinkling lights as stars or a collection of very bright suns from distant galaxies and solar systems. This month when you look into the night sky, the brightest object (besides the moon) will not be a star but rather a planet from our own solar system.
Jupiter is a giant and is the largest in our solar system. For most of this month when you look into the night sky to the south, the bright object will be Jupiter. You may even catch a glimpse of Saturn to the left.
On June 10, Jupiter was at its yearly opposition meaning that the earth was directly in between the sun and Jupiter, giving us a great look at it. Also, on June 11 Jupiter’s orbit and the Earth’s orbit have come as close as possible, still about 398 million miles away, but that’s nothing when we are talking about a universal scale. Even though both have already occurred, we will still be able to see this dazzling display through most of June.
Some tips for viewing this awesome cosmic phenomenon include heading out on a clear night and escaping the city lights. Let your eyes adjust for a half hour to the dark and just watch – or better yet, bring binoculars or a telescope. Don’t forget to bring blankets or hot cocoa on a chilly night. Happy viewing!