Thursday, June 21, 2007

Planetary Parade

Happy first day of summer everyone, well everyone here in the northern hemisphere at least. Today is also the wedding anniversary of someone near and dear to me.

Some of the bright planets have been putting on a great show this month. Venus made a nice lineup with the Gemini twins, Castor and Pollux at the start of the month.

Then this week, the moon, Venus, Saturn, and the star Regulus in the front quarters of Leo the Lion have made a dramatic straight line in the evening sky.

This picture shows how they looked on Tuesday night. Venus is the one at the lower right, then the moon, Saturn, and finally Regulus is sitting at the end of an asterism known as "the Sickle." I brightened the last two stars of the sickle a little bit to make them easier to see. You'll probably need to click on the picture to make it bigger if you want to see the stars of the sickle.

Venus and Saturn will be getting closer together during the rest of June. It should be quite obvious, even to the naked eye. Be sure to look up regularly and enjoy the show. Venus and Saturn will be closest together on June 30 and July 1.

Venus will also be getting brighter and should show a nice crescent shape in a telescope and maybe even binoculars by July 1 as well.

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