Jeffers Foundation

ASTRONOMY

Astronomy

June, 2019

Highlights
Highlights
As Jupiter reaches Opposition, we look back at images from the Juno spacecraft. Launched on 8/5/2011, Juno completed its five-year journey when it entered orbit on 7/5/2016. To avoid Jupiter's crippling radiation belts, Juno established a polar orbit, skimming between the radiation belts and the planet less than 3,000 miles above the cloud tops. This provided us a never-before seen view of Jupiter's polar caps, and they are absolutely spellbinding. Though ten times the size of the Earth, Jupiter spins twice as fast, making a day less than ten hours long. This rapid rotation, along with internal heat of tens of thousand of degrees, creates a dizzyingly chaotic swirl to Jupiter's clouds, especially around the poles.

Morning Sky

This month, notice how early the Sun appears in the sky. Though it rises by mid-month at 5:36 am, the light starts to become visible at 1:53 am. That means our night provides only three hours 18 minutes of dark sky. Though much warmer than winter, astronomy during a Minnesota summer night can be difficult. As Venus swings around the back side of the Sun, it moves low along the horizon from the east to the northeast by month's end.

Evening Sky

Joined by the Moon on 6/4, Mercury continues to climb higher in the sky, meeting up with Mars on 6/18 and reaching Greatest Eastern Elongation on 6/23. Mars finally loses its battle with twilight and disappears into its glare. Finally at opposition on 6/10, Jupiter will remain up all night, spending the month low in the south in the little known constellation of Ophiuchus. Now in the evening sky, Saturn has a very close visit from the Moon on 6/18, when the two rise at 10:30 pm.

Sun Declination

PHENOMENA

3rd, New Moon - 5:02 am

7th, Moon perigee; 228,978 miles - 6:15 pm

8th, Moon near Regulus low in west - After sunset

10th, First Quarter Moon - 12:59 am

17th, Full Moon Strawberry (Ojibwe) - 3:31 am

18th, Mercury 0.14° north of Mars - 9:35 am

21st, Summer Solstice; summer begins N Hemisphere - 10:54 am

23rd, Moon apogee; 251,375 miles - 2:49 am

25th, Last Quarter Moon - 4:46 am

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