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Saturn at its best

Saturn reaches opposition and peak visibility in early June when it shines brightly all night. Still, Mars and Jupiter appear even more dazzling during the evening hours.
Fireball
T hree spectacular planets dominate June’s short nights. Saturn comes to opposition and peak visibility on June 2/3, less than two weeks after Mars reached the same orbital milestone. Meanwhile, Jupiter outshines both of them and delivers stunning views through a telescope during the evening hours. Two distant objects, Neptune and Pluto, are relatively easy to find as they wander near bright stars.

If you look to the southwest about a half-hour after sunset, Jupiter should pop into view. On June 1, the planet stands halfway to the zenith as darkness falls. It shines at magnitude –2.1 and appears far brighter than the background stars of Leo the Lion. Jupiter sets around 2 a.m. local daylight time in early June and some two hours earlier by month’s end, when the best views come shortly after twilight ends.

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