The first two celestial objects to pop out after sunset on June 29, 2014 are the moon and dazzling planet Jupiter. These are the second-brightest and third-brightest heavenly bodies in the June 2014 evening sky, but they are low in the sky after sunset and set soon behind the sun. Look for them to shine over the sunset point on the horizon some 45 to 60 minutes after sunset. Shortly after you see them, the brilliant twosome will disappear below the horizon. For Muslims, this crescent moon, sighted on June 29, marks the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and a time of fasting.
As always, binoculars will enhance your view, so bring along binoculars if you have them.
With binoculars or the unaided eye, observe the dark side of the waxing crescent moon. That soft glow on the moon’s dark side is called earthshine. It’s sunlight that’s reflected from Earth and back to the moon. By the way, these two worlds – the moon and Jupiter – are visible only because they reflect the light of our sun. The stars, on the other hand, shine by their own light.
Our sky chart at the top of the post is designed for North American mid-northern latitudes. But no matter where you reside worldwide, look first for the waxing crescent moon after sunset and then seek for nearby Jupiter. As seen from the world’s Eastern Hemisphere – Europe, Africa, Asia Australia and New Zealand – the moon will snuggle up more closely with Jupiter at dusk (June 29) than it will in North America.
Bottom line: Look outside in very early evening on June 29, 2014. Look low in the west, shortly after sunset for two bathing beauties – the moon and Jupiter – basking in wondrous sunshine!