Nature June 12, 2019
Head To The Darkest Spot In Wisconsin To See Jupiter And Its Moons This Month
We’ve been lucky to have some truly spectacular celestial events in recent years. Here in Wisconsin, we’re in a great position to see yearly meteor showers and sometimes even the Northern Lights. This year, it’s also an awesome time to see Jupiter, as the fifth planet from the sun is at its biggest and brightest in the night sky. The solar system’s biggest planet, Jupiter is often visible with the naked eye, but the coming weeks are a great time to take out the binoculars or telescope to get amazingly good views of the planet and its moons.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
When it's at its closest to Earth, Jupiter is still 365 million miles away from earth. But even at a great distance, this gas giant makes for jaw-dropping viewing during the night.
From the layers of color to a cloud formation, you should be able to see all kind of details about Jupiter, including its red spot. The gorgeous planet is often visible, but in June 2019, the planet will rise near sunset and stay until sunrise. That long frame of visibility is part of what makes this such a unique time.
You'll be able to see Jupiter and a number of its moons from pretty much anywhere with just the naked eye any time it's dark outside, but for truly spectacular views of this planet, you should head away from the cities and light pollution to find a spot where you can set up a telescope or take out binoculars and really get a view of this giant planet.
Light pollution from nearby cities is the bane of any stargazer. When you're looking to get an uninterrupted view of the night sky in Wisconsin, you have to head to Newport State Park.
Aside from its remote location on Door Country, Newport is Wisconsin’s only Wilderness Park, meaning the park only has backpack camping and is fairly undeveloped. This pristine locale is not inundated by other campers or noises. That makes it the ideal spot to head when you want to stare up and marvel at the sky.
Put aside as an international designated dark area, Newport is the perfect Wisconsin park for stargazing because it takes advantage of its remote location along the shores of Lake Michigan on the Door County peninsula.
This location means there's little to block your view, so you'll experience nothing but uninterrupted views of the night sky. You won't be looking through trees or hoping for clear skies — you have a wide open beach that offers a stellar vantage point.
Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system by far.
The gas giant is more than twice as big as all the other planets combined. When you're looking for it, you'll also be able to spot a number of stars, constellations, and galaxies that will be easy to pick out from Newport State Park.
According to NASA, the color variations and stripes we see on Jupiter are actually clouds of ammonia and water that float in an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium.
That iconic Great Red Spot that we can sometimes see with the naked eye is actually a storm that's bigger in size than our own planet Earth.
Though you'll be able to check out Jupiter throughout June, mid-month is also a great time to check out Mars and Mercury as they appear very close to each other shortly after sunset.
You'll fall in love with lying back in the grass and gazing up at all you can see in the sky. It's an experience you won't be able to duplicate anywhere else in the state.
If you want to give your family a truly magical experience, plan a trip to Newport State Park.
Pack up your gear and be prepared to crane your head up to the sky for a few hours. You might have to adjust your sleep schedule, but the awe in their faces when you explain what it is you're seeing will definitely be worth it.
Address: 475 County Road NP, Ellison Bay, WI 54210
One of the best summer spectacles in Wisconsin are the fireflies that put on their own light show.
Learn more about this gorgeous phenomenon here.
You can read more about the
night sky and Jupiter here.