As long as skies cooperate, sky gazers will be able to see an interesting sight Monday night, and all you’ll need is a pair of binoculars. Jupiter, the largest and brightest planet in the night sky, will be in opposition on June 10th. Opposition occurs when the Jupiter, Earth, and the Sun form a straight line with the Earth in the middle. (Other planets will be in opposition with the Earth during its orbit.) This also corresponds with Jupiter’s closest approach this year.
Jupiter will rise at dusk and remain visible all night long. You will be able to see the planet with just the naked eye. To view four of the giant planet’s moons you’ll only need a pair of binoculars. Also around opposition Jupiter and its four moons frequently eclipse each other. The moons will cast black shadows on the face of the planet.
The days of rain will be winding down by Monday. We’ll just need the clouds to move out in an orderly fashion for the best viewing conditions. Even if the skies don’t cooperate, Jupiter will remain plenty big, and bright, through the end of the month. Tuesday night will be a great night for star gazing.
The next night sky spectacle will come next week. On June 17 and 18 Mars and Mercury will appear very close together right after sunset. The Full “Strawberry” Moon also peaks the night of June 17th.