Venus

Paul Hanaoka/Unsplash

All kinds of great stargazing awaits as we move toward the weekend:

Friday, June 19: the crescent moon has a rendezvous with the crescent Venus  around 4:30am...

Saturday, June 20: you can see a whole string of SpaceX satellites at 3:26 am (yup, there's an app for that), and the sun reaches its highest point in the sky at 4:44pm  ...

Stellarium

No problem seeing June's Strawberry Moon this week, and the twins Castor and Pollux are hanging out with Mercury in the eastern sky.

But  Venus has temporarily disappeared in the sun's glare. (Folks of a certain age may want to enjoy this flashback to John Stewart's album Bombs Away Dream Babies and one of the singles from that album,"Lost Her In The Sun")

Bob King. Used with permission.

Venus's upcoming conjunction with the sun means it will be backlit to a fare-thee-well in the next few weeks, but after that, it changes things up and decides to try out life as a morning star for a while.

©Bob King. Used with permission.

Some skywatchers were disappointed this week to discover that the moving, blinking lights in the sky were not, in fact, a spaceship from another planet.  Some were crestfallen to learn it was just the International Space Station. Astro Bob has more information and good viewing times here in this blog post.

Full Moon over Lake Superior
Bob King

The only good thing about nights where the air temperature is -20 and the wind chill is worse is that you can be pretty sure the skies will be clear for star-gazing.

Venus, Mars and the "precious" nature of night vision this week on Astro Bob's Backyard Astronomy.

©Bob King. Used with permission.

The sun is pretty low in the skies these days, the first day of winter will be here before you know it, Venus is easy to see with Saturn alongside it (inspiring Astro Bob to write this love note to the planet!), and even though Bob says it's "no big deal," the Ursid meteor shower will peak over the weekend.

Robson Hatsukami Morgan/Unsplash

Next week, a conjunction* of Venus and Saturn ... and on Friday the 13th, consider a moonlight ski and a peek at the Geminid meteor shower!

You can read about more unearthly goings-on at Bob King's blog here.

 

It's a wide-ranging edition of Astro Bob's Backyard Astronomy today: from the weather to the conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the moon to the International Space Station -- with stops along the way at The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and how we know the earth is not flat.

Lisa Johnson

The earth is as close to the sun as it gets today -- and after the latest sunrise of the year (7:54am) , the sun will come out - tomorrow - a little bit earlier.

Plus a wrap-up of December stats, the Christmas Bird Count and a trio of planets to enjoy in the southern sky.

©Bob King. Used with permission.

After a brief hiatus (twenty years or so) to do the newspaper thing, amateur astronomer Bob King returns to KUMD to talk about what we can see in the evening, overnight and morning skies this month - and even offer an astrophotography tip or two!

Larry Weber is just chock-ful of good advice this week, from how to keep squirrels away from your feeders to how to tell if the bears are awake or asleep right now.

There's just a tiny downside: both of these solutions are EXPENSIVE.

Oh, and Larry is looking for redpolls, too - have you seen any?

Astro Bob's Astronomy for Everyone/Bob King. Used with permission.

Even as he was being devoured alive by mosquitos, our intrepid Backyard Almanac host, Larry Weber,  reported some weather stats for the first half of July, the latest arrivals on the wildflower scene, and - gulp! - some early migrants and some leaf color already!