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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, June 24, 2024

Summer celestial highlights: A guide for Wisconsin stargazers

Watch out for these sensational cosmic events this summer.

As Wisconsinites gear up for summer, the skies above promise a celestial spectacle worthy of attention. Here’s a rundown of the astronomical events set to captivate observers across the state through August, as outlined in the 2024 Sky and Space Calendar


On June 4, Venus transitions to the evening sky, signaling its superior conjunction, when Venus is in a parallel line with Earth, with the sun in between. Meanwhile, early birds can catch a close encounter between Mercury and Jupiter.

The year’s earliest sunrise graces the sky at 5:12 a.m. CDT on June 13, signaling the beginning of summer’s longer days.

Summer solstice officially begins on June 20 at 3:51 p.m. CDT, ushering in the season of sunshine and outdoor adventures.

Night owls, stay up for the year’s latest sunset, expected at 8:35 p.m. CDT in Milwaukee on June 27.


On July 5 Earth reaches aphelion, its farthest point from the sun, spanning a respectable 94.5 million miles.

July 20 marks the 55th anniversary of humanity’s giant leap with Apollo 11’s moon landing.

Pluto comes into opposition on July 23, presenting an opportunity to observe the distant dwarf planet as it aligns with Earth and the sun.


Don’t miss The year’s biggest full moon, the Supermoon, will be visible on Aug. 1.

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From Aug. 12-14: the Perseids meteor shower peaks, offering a dazzling display of shooting stars.

Stargazing, community engagement venues

Wisconsin offers fantastic venues for stargazing and community engagement. The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Monona Terrace and the Wisconsin Union are excellent spots for astronomical and community events. The UW-Madison Astronomy Department offers free public observing at Washburn Observatory on the first and third Wednesday of each month. These viewings occur from June through August, weather permitting.

As summer unfolds across Wisconsin, don’t miss the chance to turn your gaze skyward and witness the wonders of space. Whether you’re a seasoned astronomer or simply intrigued by the cosmos, these astronomical occurrences offer a peek into the mysteries above. Mark your calendars, set your alarms and get ready for what awaits you this summer in Wisconsin.

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