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Planets Converge in June

That bright object that's been hovering in the western evening twilight is Venus. Up and to its left is Jupiter. Keep your eyes on this pair of bright planets through June, for each day they will appear to draw closer to each other. By the end of the month, the pair are side by side.

If you observe Jupiter with even a modest telescope you will be able to see its four Galilean moons. Venus, meanwhile, clearly appears out-of-round, not quite a circular disk. Venus shows phases, just like our moon, because it passes between the earth and the sun.

You can borrow a Galileoscope with a library card from one of eight St. Joseph County Public Library (SJCPL) branches. In addition to observing the planets (Saturn is up now, too) and moon, try the Scope Out South Bend challenge and be eligible to win a telescope and up to $150.00.

The NASA video below describes the twilight scene over the last two weeks of June 2015. Sometimes, naked eye astronomy is every bit as rewarding as using fancy telescopes and gear. This conjunction is likely one of those times.

The thin crescent moon adds interest to the viewing. Use the moon around the June solstice to locate Venus in the daytime sky, too.

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