Our sister planet Venus dazzles while Jupiter moves in for its closest appearance of the year.

Hello and welcome. I’m Jane Houston Jones with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Jupiter will be at its biggest and brightest this month, and offers great views through August.

With your telescope, you can see cloud bands and the Great Red Spot.

This is really a gigantic storm within the clouds that astronomers have been seeing for over 300 years.

Through a telescope, the Red Spot will look ruddy pink and even a bit smudgy, but it’s definitely worth looking for.

You should also be able to pick out Jupiter’s four largest moons.

Two of them, Io and Europa, pass in front of Jupiter on June 16.

You may even be able to see their tiny black circular shadows cross the planet.

Many NASA spacecraft have studied Jupiter and its moons.

The Galileo spacecraft orbited Jupiter from 1995 to 2003.

One of the mission’s many discoveries was strong evidence that the moon Europa has a saltwater ocean beneath its icy surface.

Venus also pulls out the stops this month, appearing high and bright alongside many objects in the sky.

Our sister planet skims by a swarm of stars called the Beehive Star Cluster.

By mid-month, the crescent moon joins the lineup below Venus.

For the month’s grand finale, Saturn and Venus draw closer and closer to one another.

They will appear so close that they will fit in one eyepiece view.

Next month we’ll offer some summertime viewing tips, and talk about observing the moon.

To learn more about all of NASA’s missions, visit

You can get our sky charts and e-mail questions to me at

Just click on the What’s Up button.

That’s all for this month. I’m Jane Houston Jones.
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