This is the Griffith Observatory Sky Report for the week ending Wednesday, June 4, 2014. Here is what’s happening in the skies of southern California:
Brilliant yellow Jupiter is the brightest planet visible during evening twilight this week. The giant planet sets in the west-northwest by 11:00 p.m. Jupiter is 20 degrees to the upper left of the innermost planet, Mercury. Mercury is more than 9 degrees above the horizon when the sky darkens enough to find it at 8:30 p.m. this week.
The moon is new on the morning of Wednesday, May 28, and can be found low in the west-northwest during evening twilight on the 30th. The moon passes 8˚ to the left of Mercury on May 28th, and is to the upper left of Jupiter on June 1. By Wednesday the 4th, the moon will be visible until it sets at 12:15 a.m.
Orange planet Mars, in Virgo the Maiden, is highest in the south during evening twilight. Mars sets in the west by 3:00 a.m.
Ringed planet Saturn is well placed for early-evening viewing. The golden planet is in the southeast after sunset. Saturn transits 42 degrees high in the south at 11:15 p.m. This year, early June is the ideal time to see Saturn and its rings through a telescope at Griffith Observatory.
The brightest planet, Venus, makes its appearance at 3:50 a.m. when it rises above the east-northeast horizon. Venus can still be glimpsed at sunrise when the planet is 22 degrees high.
The International Space Station should make the first of two brilliant passages over Los Angeles on the evening of Monday, June 2. The ISS will appear over the south-southwest horizon at 9:10 p.m., PDT, and will reach its highest point, 53 degrees above the southeast horizon, at 9:13 p.m. The satellite will be visible for another 3 minutes as it approaches the northeast horizon. The highest passage of the ISS will occur on the morning of Wednesday, June 4. The ISS will be visible between 4:29 and 4:36 a.m. as it moves from the northwest horizon to the southeast horizon, and will appear highest at 4:32 a.m. when it is 68 degrees above the northeast horizon.
Accelerated by international tensions and the resulting uncertainties about the future of America’s human access to space via the Russian Soyuz, SpaceX will unveil the flight-ready, seven-seat-crew-carrying version of its Dragon capsule during a live webcast from its Hawthorne, California factory at 7:00 p.m., PDT on Thursday, May 29.
Free views of the sun during the day and of the moon, planets, and other celestial objects at night are available to the public in clear weather through Griffith Observatory’s telescopes from Tuesday through Sunday before 9:30 p.m. Check our website for our schedule. The next public star party on the grounds of Griffith Observatory, hosted by the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, the Sidewalk Astronomers, and the Planetary Society, will take place on Saturday, June 7.
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From Griffith Observatory, I’m Anthony Cook and I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.