We'll be out a little later tonight. Sunset isn't until 8 p.m. so that's when we'll start observing at our usual Myrtle and Lime corner in Monrovia CA. The moon is a few days from first quarter, so will appear as a chonky crescent tonight. We've just about lost views of Mars this apparition, you might glimpse it near the western horizon with unaided eye after sunset, but it will be too low to aim a telescope at from our corner.

Jupiter is beginning its months-long reign as King of the planets in the night sky sky this month. Despite all the hype about Jupiter's brightness and closest approach (opposition) to the Earth in its orbit this week, this isn't the easiest time to view the planet early in the evening. Just like the full moon phase, Jupiter Opposition means Jupiter is "opposite" the sun, rising sunset *opposite* the sun and setting near sunrise. At 8 p.m. sunset tonight, Jupiter will only be a few degrees above the eastern horizon. It may clear the trees in Monrovia by 10 p.m. tonight but will be best to see around midnight for the next few weeks, when it reaches its highest altitude, which is only 30 degrees above the horizon. Each week it will reach this highest point a half hour earlier, so July and August will be prime viewing months.

So tonight's view, when Jupiter will be lower in the sky won't provide awesome views. For awesomness, set your alarm, step outside between midnight and dawn over the next few months. With some moderate-sized binoculars and a steady view (use a fence or post to steady/balance the binos) aim at Jupiter and you should be able to see the Galilean moons!  Hope to see some of you tonight! Jane

Jane Houston Jones http://www.otastro.org/