Visible Planets June 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

Planets

For us, this is a useful post.  We wrote about the visible planets in April and May.  It gives us the basics in one place, which kind of helps!  We’ve got our own Jupiter photo below. x

The post tells us something about Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – simply a recap. It reminds us where the planets are in the sky, theoretically!

Here are the links for July: Visible Planets July 2015 – Mercury and Venus and Visible Planets July 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

Mars

Mars
Mars

Mars has a red hue to it because iron oxides (rust) covers its surface.

Most of the time, Mars glows dimly in the night sky, except when it is directly opposite the Sun, (opposition).

When Mars is in opposition, usually every 2 years, it’s at its largest and brightest.

Generally, Mars is not as bright as Venus but it’s luminosity is largest as its orbit get closer to Earth. (Its elliptical orbit means that it can vary from 50 to 400 million km from Earth.)

Mars is the first of the outer planets, those with orbits further away from the Sun than Earth’s. As such it takes Mars longer to orbit and so appears to stay in a constellation longer than the inner planets.

Mars – as of June 2015:

imageWe cannot see Mars this month.  At the moment, it’s hidden in the Sun’s glare.

It is out of view for 3 months.  In late July, it reappears in the dawn sky.  It passes from the evening to the morning sky on June 14th, which is today!

(By May 2016 Mars will be in the Scorpius constellation when it will be in opposition.)

Jupiter

Jupiter
Jupiter

Jupiter is the brightest object in the night sky after Venus. It is a shining white colour.

If you look with binoculars you may just see its 4 largest moons.  A telescope may pick up its bands and Red Spot.  They are known as the Galilean moons after Galileo, who discovered them in 1610. In their order from Jupiter, these moons are Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

Also, Jupiter is the largest object in the Solar System except for the Sun.  Jupiter takes longer than Mars to orbit the Sun, so once found, see it in the same constellation for a long time.nbv

Jupiter – as of June 2015

Venus and Jupiter: Anne Burgess
Venus and Jupiter: Anne Burgess

Jupiter, well past opposition is visible after sunset.

Jupiter is getting dimmer.  Jupiter has just passed from Cancer to Leo – on June 12th.  

Jupiter and Venus get closer together. By late June into early July, Venus and Jupiter will have their closest conjunction until August 2016.

Jupiter is bright, yet Venus is brighter and lower than Jupiter.  In early June Venus sets earlier than Jupiter.  Jupiter sets an hour or so later.

In early June in northern latitudes, Jupiter sets in the west about 3.5 hours after sunset – which is about 1.30am.

At the end of June, the two planets are close to conjunction they will set at nearly the same time – at about 12.30am.

With binoculars or a telescope look for Jupiter’s Galilean moons, they will be dots of light close to Jupiter.

Our Jupiter!
Our Jupiter!

Ok, I understand this photo of Jupiter is no masterpiece, but we’re still proud of it!

I have seen Jupiter, Venus near the moon in June, so will get a photo and add our next masterpiece.

Saturn

Saturn: NASA
Saturn: NASA

To us Saturn looks like a small, yellow-white light, yet it is easy to see. Saturn is not as bright as Mars or Jupiter.  It is known as the Golden Planet.

It takes a long time to orbit the Sun, so it will be in the same star group for a while.

Saturn – as of June 2015

Saturn and Mars
Saturn and Mars

Saturn is visible through most of the night. It rises in the southeast at nightfall It travels westwards through the night to the southwest before dawn.  By the end of May it rises as soon as it is dark.

The moon passed Saturn at the start of June, we’ve missed this.  but, again the moon passes at the end of June 27th – 29th.

With a telescope you can see Saturn’s rings.

A Note to You and Me

These are our (my) notes for June.  We write them as a reference for Kam and I, we enjoy looking at the planets, although as it’s getting light later in the evenings, Kam misses a lot as he’s asleep.

These posts have been useful for us. Here are links to our visible planets posts:
Visible Planets and
Visible Planets June 2015 – Mercury and Venus

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and it is useful for you.  As ever, we’d love to hear from you.  If you spot any mishaps, please let us know.

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