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    Planets reach milestones this week

    By Dave Samuhel, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
    6/23/2018, 5:11:29 PM

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    We now have a waxing gibbous moon. That means it will be tough to see a lot of stars over the next week or so. What won't be tough to see? The planets!

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    For starters, you can't miss the moon and Jupiter tonight. Our largest planet will appear right next to the 85% illuminated moon tonight. Both the moon and Jupiter rise before sunset, so you will clearly see them early in the evening.

    Saturn will make the news this week.

    Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 7.11.58 PM.png

    The ringed planet will reach opposition Wednesday night. At this time, the Earth will be directly between the sun and Saturn, but this is the night of the full moon. Saturn is not the brightest planet, and it will be right next to the moon; it may be hard to see. You should still be able to see it, but it will be harder to see than usual. If you are looking to see its rings, you have the rest of the summer to do so as Saturn will remain in the sky through the nighttime hours all summer.


    Then on Friday, Mars reaches a milestone

    Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 4.20.02 PM.png

    This will be the sky view late in the evening of June 29th (as seen from Pennsylvania)


    On Friday night, Mars will shine brighter than Jupiter for the first time in two years. Mars is becoming brighter every night. Mars will continue to brighten until its opposition in late July! Even with bright moonlight this week, you can't miss Mars. The planet is highest in the sky after midnight, but it will continue to rise earlier and earlier each night.

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    View of the Milky Way that I took near my house with wide angle lens and long exposure. Specs: 11mm, f/2.8, 30s, ISO 1600


    Unfortunately, this won't be the week to get your Milky Way pic, but you can't miss the planets.

    The best things in life are free. Not too many things are free anymore; however, looking at the night sky is still one of those things. Thanks for reading! Just look up; you never know what you will see.

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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    Astronomy blog