photo: Pixabay

Reading books about the solar system can help young stargazers imagine what it might be like to explore outer space, but nothing beats seeing the real thing right in front of your eyes. Unless you’re well-versed in astronomy yourself, it can be tricky to know where to point your telescopes into the sky for the best view, but with a little planning and some app assistance, you can scan the skies like an expert stargazer.

According to Inverse Science, these are the best nights to spot some of the planets in our galactic neighborhood this summer:

June 15: Saturn
Saturn will be fully lit by the sun and its brightest all year.

July 13: Neptune
This marks the start of Neptune’s most visible period.

August 27: Uranus
This is the beginning of Uranus’ brightest period and it can even be seen without the aid of a telescope if the sky is clear and dark enough.

September 5: Neptune
This will be another prime night to check out Neptune. Look for a small blue dot in the early evening.

September 6: Mercury
It may be low in the sky, but fairly easy to see in the eastern morning sky, if you can wake the kids early enough.

Armed with your telescope and dates, the question remains where should you direct that lens in the sky? Pull out your smartphone and open the handy SkyView app and point it up. It will guide you to the exact location of each planet, as well as all the stars and constellations, no matter where you are.

Will you be watching the skies at night this summer? Tell us in the comments below.