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Madison Metropolitan School District

Summer Stargazing 2016

Summer Stargazing 2016
Summer Milky Way: John Rummel

Summer Milky Way: John Rummel

Since I can't find a good summary of astronomy events for the summer of 2016, I decided to create a quick listing here. These are events that you don't need a telescope to enjoy.

  • ALL SUMMER: Planets! Throughout the summer, you'll have planets to enjoy. Watch their positions change relative to each other, relative to the sun, and relative to the stars. At the beginning of the summer, you'll have Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn. But by the end of the summer Venus and Mercury will join them so that we'll have all five naked-eye planets in the sky at the same time! Viewing tips and graphics can be found on the and sites.
  • ALL SUMMER: Stars and Constellations; Use the free star charts from to learn how to find some fun star patterns.
  • June 20: Summer Solstice (northern hemisphere); This is the day that the sun rises and sets farthest north, the sun is at its highest mid-day altitude for the year, and we experience the most daylight. Coincidently, this will also be a Full Moon. 
  • July 4: Juno Arrives at Jupiter; The Juno spacecraft, which launched in 2011, will arrive at Jupiter and enter orbit around Jupiter. On this date, it will also become the fastest man-made object in history! 
  • August 11-12: Perseid Meteor Shower; This is one of the favorite meteor showers of the year, probably because of the nice weather. Unfortunately, the moon will mask all but the brightest meteors for a few hours after sunset, but meteor showers are always best after midnight anyway.
  • August 16 (Mid-August): Five Planets; August 16th, Mercury will be farthest from the sun in the sky, making it easier to spot. Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter will be hiding in the sunset, and Mars and Saturn will be in the southern sky. See the and observing pages for graphics and details.
  • August 27: Venus and Jupiter Conjunction; A conjunction is when multiple celestial objects appear near each other in the sky. Even though they will be low in the sunset, this will be an event you'll want to catch! These two bright planets will appear so close to each other that they will almost appear to touch!

Eclipse Glasses for Sale!

Image shows a Sun shape made with eclipse glasses

Be safe, order a pair for everyone in the family!


Be prepared to look at the October 14, 2023 and the April 8, 2024 Solar eclipses!

Did you know the sun is a great object to look at any day... sometimes its sunspots are so large that you can see them with just your eyes (protected with these amazing eclipse glasses, of course) from our spaceship Earth at more than 93,000,000 miles away.

Glasses purchased must be picked up at the planetarium by appointment or at any of our public events.   Cost is $5 per pair with all proceeds directly benefiting the planetarium.  Send an email to the planetarium to arrange for a pickup time.

Cash or check is our preferred method of payment but payment through our online store is possible, if you have to use a credit card.

Buy a pair for yourself, every family member, as a gift, or simply donate the purchase so that we can provide safe eclipse glasses to others in our community.

Additional donations welcomed!!