Venus, Jupiter, the Moon, and a Solstice

Jupiter-Venus-062015Venus and Jupiter continue to move together each night on the way to their closest encounter on June 30, 2015. This weekend the two planets are still 6º apart, but stargazers may get their best photo opportunity during this conjunction as the two planets are joined by a slender crescent Moon in the western sky after sunset on June 19-20. Venus and Jupiter form a straight line with the bright white star Regulus in the constellation Leo to the east, while Castor and Pollux in Gemini linger to the west. In a telescope, brilliant Venus now appears as a thick crescent while Jupiter, which appears smaller and fainter, still shows its cloud bands and four bright moons.

And on June 21, 2015 at 16:39 UT, the Sun appears to stand still at its most northerly point in the sky. This marks the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of northern summer. At the same time, winter begins in the southern hemisphere as the days begin to grow longer and the world slowly moves from darkness to light.

(Image at top captured from SkySafari 4 Plus)

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