At the end of May, Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury all clustered together for a rare triple conjunction of planets. All three were easily visible near one another in binoculars shortly after sunset. Although Jupiter is now slinking lower and lower in the sky and will no longer be visible when the Oregon Observatory's summer viewing schedule begins, Venus will be rising higher and the phase of this inner planet will become more apparent as summer progresses.
Mercury is also making a brief (as always) appearance. Because the innermost planet completes a rotation of the sun in less than a quarter of the time it takes the Earth to, it is typically only visible for a few weeks at a time (and this period varies greatly because of the elliptical or oval shape of Mercury's orbit). Come out for night viewing before June 22 if you would like to catch a view of this shy planet.
Though these planets set into the western horizon by the end of our program, Saturn is visible quite high in the sky throughout the night in all of its' ringed glory.
Lastly, the summer Milky Way is finally making itself faintly visible on moonless nights, and with it numerous nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies visible only during the summer months.
Hope to see you here!