Don’t worry, if you missed the June 10 annular solar eclipse because there will be plenty of other fun night sky events to enjoy this summer! Here are the top 4 must-see night sky events that’ll keep you busy this summer. You get a taste of everything from seeing planets to a solar eclipse and a meteor shower. So go put your comfy clothes on, set out your favorite blanket, and don’t forget to bring the snacks for your fun night sky viewing party.
A solstice can be described as when the sun does not follow its original path from sunrise to sundown. Instead, the sun rises a little northeast of its original path, and it sets northwest which causes the sun to be in the sky longer and have the day last a little longer than usual. This solstice date can start between June 20 and June 22. If you pay close attention to the days before the solstice you can see the path of the sun and compare that to the solstice’s path. This event is able to be seen all over the world, just remember don’t look directly at the sun instead look at the sun’s path. If you miss this one there is another one happening at the end of the year. There are two solstices a year, a summer solstice in June and a winter one in December.
The Venus and Mars conjunction is going to be one of the brightest events happening in the night sky on the 12. Both of these planets will be very close to earth so you’ll be able to see them with a simple telescope or binoculars. If you don’t have a telescope or binoculars, it’ll appear to you as an ultra-bright star. To watch it you’ll have to wait until right after the sun sets, then look to the horizon and you’ll be able to see the planets take place there. It’ll also be easier to see since the moon on that night will be in crescent form for the night.
If you didn’t know about it before you’ll know about it now. Every year from July 17 to August 24 you’ll be able to see the Perseid meteor shower. This shower occurs every year when Earth crosses the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle. You’ll be able to get a clear view of the meteor shower after 10 p.m. your local time, and if you can get away from the city lights, you’ll get a better show. The reason you can see the meteor shower is because when the Comet Swift-Tuttle orbits closer to the sun, the sun warms up the comet and melts off the ice from the comet which creates the meteor shower we all see. If you want to see the Comet Swift-Tuttle, you will have to wait for a long time. The Comet doesn’t present itself to the naked eye until the year 2126, the last it was seen was in 1992. So, set your reminders on your calendar so you won’t forget about them.
This is one of the coolest ones that you don’t want to miss. Saturn at opposition means you have a chance to actually see Saturn and its rings. When in opposition, Saturn will orbit close to Earth and it will be illuminated by the Sun which will be bright enough that you can see it all night long. If you have a telescope, then take it out and use it so you can see Saturn’s rings and the many moons orbiting the planet. Saturn would be located Southeast just right above the horizon, and if you can locate Sagittarius and Capricorn’s constellation then it will be right in between those two. Though other planets have rings, Saturn’s rings are the only ones that can be seen from Earth. They are so big that they are as long as the distance between Earth and the moon. So, you’ll definitely see Saturn’s rings clearly.
We hope this inspires you to stay up late and enjoy the night sky. If you liked these events, another one to put on your calendar is the total solar eclipse on December 8th, where the entire sun is covered by the moon. Then check out our Science Camp for more science fun. Enjoy!
Tagged:- activities, family activities, outdoor adventure, science
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