Simma Sky: Shortest Nights of the Year & Bright Planets

Northern Hemisphere Shortest Nights

Simma Sky: Shortest Nights of the Year & Bright Planets

FILE - This April 3, 2017 image made available by NASA shows the planet Jupiter. A team of astronomers is reporting the recent discovery of a dozen new moons circling the giant gas planet. That brings the number of moons at Jupiter to 79, the most of any planet. The astronomers were looking for objects on the fringes of the solar system when they spotted the Jupiter moons. They found a dozen small moons. The confirmation of 10 was announced Tuesday, July 17, 2018; two were confirmed earlier. They’re calling one moon an ‘oddball’ because of its unusual orbit. (NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (GSFC) via AP, File)

Can you feel it, Florida?

That's summer in FULL swing. Afternoons in the 90s...some rain and storms (but not enough for you to cancel your plans)...local meteorologists talking about disturbances and areas of low pressure over open waters...yep, it's here. Jacksonville's highest average afternoon temperature (92) occurs technically in July, but you take one step outside and you don't care a bit about "averages" and how it's supposed to feel.

June is home to the longest nights of the year in the northern hemisphere. According to the Buresh Blog on ActionNewsJax.com, Jacksonville gains 6 minutes of daylight. Doesn't sound like much (but most of the gains occur in spring).

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Sunrise / Sunset - 1st - 6:25am / 8:24pm..... 30th: 6:28am / 8:33pm - +6 min. of daylight

In the night sky (which we have a little more time of this month, as noted) there are two bright planets to be spotted as the sun sets. Mercury and Mars can be spotted near the horizon looking west-northwest after sunset (though they may be hard to see with all the trees around...)

Image courtesy

As the month progresses, Jupiter reaches what is known as opposition. Opposition occurs when the sun, earth, and said planet all line up. From our vantage point on earth, it appears that the planet in question and the sun are directly opposite each other.

Opposition. Image courtesy Accuweather

Opposition will also be the point when Jupiter is closest to earth, and therefore the brightest. It rises after sunset, stays in the night sky all night, and sets at sunrise in the morning. Jupiter's opposition occurs June 10. You can't miss it in the night sky. If you ask me, seems like this month is a good one to see Jupiter...