Category Archives: Education

NASA Night Sky Notes: Jupiter Shines In June

Poster’s Note: One of the many under-appreciated aspects of NASA is the extent to which it publishes quality science content for children and Ph.D.’s alike. Your tax dollars help promote science! The following article was provided for reprinting by the Night Sky Network in June, 2019.

By David Prosper

Jupiter stakes its claim as the king of the planets in June, shining bright all night. Saturn trails behind Jupiter, and the Moon passes by both planets mid-month. Mercury puts on its best evening appearance in 2019 late in the month, outshining nearby Mars at sunset.

Jupiter is visible almost the entire evening this month. Earth will be between Jupiter and the Sun on June 10, meaning Jupiter is at opposition. On that date, Jupiter rises in the east as the Sun sets in the west, remaining visible the entire night. Jupiter will be one of the brightest objects in the night sky, shining at magnitude -2.6. Its four largest moons and cloud bands are easily spotted with even a small telescope.

What if your sky is cloudy or you don’t have a telescope? See far more of Jupiter than we can observe from Earth with NASA’s Juno mission! Juno has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016, swooping mere thousands of miles above its cloud tops in its extremely elliptical polar orbits, which take the probe over 5 million miles away at its furthest point! These extreme orbits minimize Juno’s exposure to Jupiter’s powerful radiation as it studies the gas giant’s internal structure, especially its intense magnetic fields. Juno’s hardy JunoCam instrument takes incredible photos of Jupiter’s raging storms during its flybys. All of the images are available to the public, and citizen scientists are doing amazing things with them. You can too! Find out more at bit.ly/JunoCam

Saturn rises about two hours after Jupiter and is visible before midnight. The ringed planet rises earlier each evening as its own opposition approaches in July. The Moon appears near both gas giants mid-month. The Moon’s tour begins on June 16 as it approaches Jupiter, and its visit ends on June 19 after swinging past Saturn.

Mercury is back in evening skies and will be highest after sunset on June 23, just two days after the summer solstice! Spot it low in the western horizon, close to the much dimmer and redder Mars. This is your best chance this year to spot Mercury in the evening, and nearly your last chance to see Mars, too! The two smallest planets of our solar system pass close to each other the evenings of June 17-18, coming within just ¼ degree, or half the width of a full Moon, making for a potentially great landscape photo at twilight.

Discover more about NASA’s current and future missions at nasa.gov

A giant storm in Jupiter’s north polar region, captured by JunoCam on February 4, 2019. Image processing performed by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran. Source: bit.ly/JupiterSpiral
Mars and Mercury after sunset the evenings of June 17-18, 2019. Image created with assistance from Stellarium.

The Night Sky Network program supports astronomy clubs across the USA dedicated to astronomy outreach. Visit nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov to find local clubs, events, and more!

Apollo Special Part 1! Free Astronomy Magazine – May-June 2019 Issue Available For Reading And Download

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

The most recent issue of Free Astronomy Magazine (May-June 2019) is available for your reading and downloading pleasure at www.astropublishing.com (click the link to go directly to the issue).

This month features the first of a two-part series in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 10 and 11 missions that found us first visiting (10) and then landing (11) on the Moon. As if the gorgeous selection of images for the Apollo article was not enough, the issue includes its usual wonderful selection of NASA/ESA/ALMA astronomy and space science articles.

Free Astronomy Magazine (website, facebook) was featured as the first of a series of articles on great free online content for amateur astronomers (see A Universe Of Free Resources Part 1) and we’ll be keeping track of future publications under the Online Resources category on the CNYO website.

You can find previous Free Astronomy Magazine issues by checking out our Free Astronomy Magazine Category (or look under the Education link in our menu).

For those wanting a quick look at what the issue has to offer, the Table of Contents is reproduced below.


May-June 2019

The web browser-readable version of the issue can be found here:

May-June 2019 – www.astropublishing.com/3FAM2019/

For those who want to jump right to the PDF download (20 MB), Click here:

May-June 2019

GENIUS Olympiad – Judges Needed – 19 June 2019

Editor’s Note: The following announcement is in from the TACNY email list. If you’re available, please consider spending the day being quite impressed (as I’ve been previously)!

You are invited to serve as a judge for the GENIUS Olympiad on Wednesday, June 19th, as we encourage young scientific minds from all over the world. Terra Science and Education even provides a FREE BUS for judges from Syracuse!

The GENIUS Olympiad is an international high school competition about environmental issues in the disciplines of Science, Robotics, Visual and Performing Arts, Creating Writing, and Business. We expect 700+ projects from 75 countries and 42 states (1400 participants)!

Everyone with a passion for environmental issues and a BS/BA degree in STEM, business, art, music, short film, or education may volunteer to judge for the appropriate field. Each judging session is three hours, during which you talk with assigned students and grade their performance based on judging criteria given to you. We would like to have you for both morning and afternoon sessions, if possible.

Judges are crucial, so not only do we provide lunch and refreshments during judging, and free parking or a free bus, but we also thank each judge with a $25 Amazon Gift card at the end of your day!

More information will be sent via email to those who register.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 19, 2019
     [FREE bus leaves Bird Library at SU at 8:00 AM]
Morning Session: 9:30-12 PM
     [LUNCH for those judging both sessions 12:00-1:00 PM]
Afternoon Session: 1-3.30 PM
     [FREE bus leaves Oswego at 3:45 PM, arrives at Bird by 4:45 PM]
     [Those with their own transportation may stay for the 5:00 PM Cultural Festival as well.]

            WHERE: SUNY Oswego Campus, Campus Center Arena, Oswego, NY 13126

If you would like to be a judge for the GENIUS Olympiad on June 19th, please register at one of these links:

  1. I will use the FREE bus:  Free bus LINK
  2. I have my own transportation:  Own transportation LINK

Please share this e-mail with your friends and colleagues. These marvelous young people deserve the richness of many judges!

Thank you,

Dr. Fehmi Damkaci
Director, GENIUS Olympiad