Visitors lucky enough to travel to Hawaii this June or July are in for a celestial treat!
According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, this month, Jupiter and Venus will star in an astronomical show for several nights in the Hawaii skies. Each night, they will appear to come closer and closer together in the western evening sky, and, on the last day of the month, you can see them as the two brightest celestial dots in the sky. Stargazing in Hawaii is easy and fun.
About 20 minutes after sunset, look to the west to see Venus. It will appear as minus 4.4 magnitude throughout the entire month. As it gets dark, look a third of the way up the horizon in the west to view Venus. In the Hawaii skies, it sets around 10 p.m. throughout June.
But, Venus has a dance partner in its waltz across the sky: Jupiter. You can find this planet more than halfway up the western sky as it gets dark, and it will be about 20 degrees above brighter Venus. That’s about the width of two palms held at arm’s length.
In early June, Jupiter will set in the west at 11:30 p.m., about 90 minutes after Venus. It shines at minus 2 magnitude, ten times dimmer than Venus but brighter than any other dot in the sky.
According to EarthSky, Jupiter and Venus will come closer and closer together on the sky’s dome throughout June, 2015. In late June and early July, “Venus and Jupiter will stage their closest conjunction until August 27, 2016.”
Each evening in June, Jupiter appear a little bit lower in the sky at full darkness will seem a little lower in the sky at full darkness; by mid-month it will be halfway up in the sky, and only about 10 degrees above Venus. By the end of the month, side-by-side with Venus, Jupiter will be only about a third of the way up in the west at dusk and will set by 10 p.m.
The Star Advertiser reports that these important dates will provide some of the best viewing opportunities in Hawaii: On June 20, the moon will be a bigger crescent and will have moved up to the left of Jupiter, the upper planet of the pair.
From June 21 to 30, as the two planets draw closer in the sky, you should be able to tell a change in their positions from each night.
The two planets will remain close to each other in July, so if you aren’t planning your trip until next month, you still have time to catch the show. However, the two planets will be lower in the sky with every July dusk. And, both will vanish into the sun’s light by early August.
Posted by: Bruce Fisher