Simma Sky: June Jupiter & Saturn, Invisible Solar Eclipse, & SpaceX

A few things to talk about this month. Planets get real close and dance a little jig with the moon, a solar eclipse happens this month, and man left the United States to go to space. Let’s jump in.

Jupiter & Saturn

Bright planets steal the show again this month with Jupiter and Saturn making a couple of appearances. Look south before dawn and you’ll find Jupiter pretty easily - it’s the brightest thing that way. Saturn is immediately to the left of Jupiter (or east using cardinal directions) and probably the next brightest thing behind only Jupiter. If you’re more of a nighttime person, find Jupiter and Saturn low in the southeastern sky before bed. For the early risers, use “The Teapot” in the southern sky to guide you close to the bright planets:

And for those of you getting the nighttime glimpse, the moon passes very near Jupiter and Saturn at the beginning of the month:

Annular Solar Eclipse

Yes, a solar eclipse happens this month...but North America can’t see it. Worth a mention, and that’s it. “Annular” (not to be confused with “annual”) means the eclipse will look like a ring, according to TimeAndDate. The moon is over the sun’s center but there is still part of the sun that is visible. This solar eclipse happens on June 21 and will be visible in Africa and Asia.

Image Source: Starry Night

NASA & SpaceX

Definitely worth mentioning the monumental fact that man is back up in space! NASA sent astronauts to the International Space Station with a commercially built spacecraft built by SpaceX. This was also the first time astronauts went up on an American rocket since the Space Shuttle Program ended in 2011. The weather was a problem - the launch originally slated for Wednesday, May 27 was postponed to Saturday, May 30 due to thunderstorms - and NASA was actually working with a private company instead of doing it by themselves. This article says it better than I can, and is worth a read:

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Demo-2 mission is the first launch with astronauts of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The test flight serves as an end-to-end demonstration of SpaceX’s crew transportation system. Behnken and Hurley launched at 3:22 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 30, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. A new era of human spaceflight is set to begin as American astronauts once again launch on an American rocket from American soil to low-Earth orbit for the first time since the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011. Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls