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Last Week's Stargazing Tips

June 17: Little Dipper

Polaris, the North Star, marks the end of the handle of the Little Dipper. Its stars are not as bright of those of the Big Dipper. The handle arcs in the opposite direction from the Big Dipper’s, but it still looks like a dipper.

June 16: Evening Sights

The crescent Moon is low in the west early this evening, with Venus, the brilliant “evening star,” close to the lower right. The bright planet Jupiter is in the south, with the slightly fainter planet Saturn rising in the southeast.

June 15: Moon and Venus

There’s a beautiful conjunction between the Moon and the planet Venus, the “evening star,” over the next couple of nights. Venus stands above the Moon tonight, and about the same distance to the lower right of the Moon tomorrow night.

June 14: Summer Triangle

One sure sign of summer is a triangle of bright stars in the evening sky. Called the Summer Triangle, it will make a big mark in the northern half of the sky well into autumn. Look for the triangle low in the east and northeast beginning around 10 p.m.

June 13: New Moon

The Moon is new at 2:43 p.m. CDT today as it crosses the line between Earth and the Sun. It will return to view in a day or two as a thin crescent quite low in the west shortly after sunset.

June 12: Scutum

A small, faint “shield” of stars climbs high across the southern sky on June nights. The constellation Scutum represents the coat of arms on the shield of John Sobieski, a 17th-century king of Poland and one of that country’s greatest heroes.

June 11: Venus and Gemini

Venus, the “evening star,” is climbing a little higher into the sky each night. Tonight, the brilliant planet lines up with the twins of Gemini. The brighter star, Pollux, is closer to Venus, with Castor farther along the same line.