Friday, January 27, 2006

June 1, 2000

On June 20 the sun will set in New Haven at 8:28 p.m. One hour and twenty minutes later, it will have climbed to the top of the sky over the Tropic of Cancer, thereby marking the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere.

Along with the longest day (including longest twilights) of the year comes the shortest night of the year, which is just as well because there's not much happening up there this month for the evening naked-eye urban skygazer to see!

One hour after sunset on Saturday, however, you should be able to find Mercury low in the west-northwest just to the upper right of a thin crescent moon.

Meantime in the morning, preparations are being set for evening events to come. An hour before sunrise on the 13th, Jupiter and Saturn will form a striking pair low in the east-northeast. They are now at their closest to each other in the sky for the next twenty years.

When last visible, Jupiter and Saturn were in the western sky, setting just after the sun. We had been watching them since autumn as they rose and set earlier each month, dominating the evening sky. That process continues, shifting them now into the morning sky. They will then do another round of the sky before disappearing again next May.

There is a slight possibility of a meteor shower in the early evening of the 26th. Look for slow-moving streaks seeming to emanate from directly overhead.

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