The Perseid meteor shower peaks on the morning of August 12. This year promises favorable observing without the moon. The meteors are the dust from comet that vaporize when they strike the atmosphere. Sirius may be visible in the southeast about 45 minutes before sunrise.
June 15 – June 22, 2021: Brilliant Evening Star Venus shines in the west-northwest after sunset. It continues to close the distance to Mars. Venus shines from Gemini, beneath Castor and Pollux. Mars marches eastward in Cancer, approaching the Beehive star cluster.
2021, June 23: Through a binocular, Mars is in front of the Beehive star cluster this evening. The stars Gamma Cancri (γ Cnc) and Delta Cancri (δ Cnc) are in the same binocular field of view as Mars and the cluster.
Mid-June, 2021: As morning twilight begins – quite early this time of year – the great winged horse is in the south-southeast. The Great Square of Pegasus is made of moderately bright stars. The horse’s neck and head extend toward the south. A star cluster is off the tip of the horse’s nose.
August 18, 2021: During bright twilight, five planets and the moon are in the sky simultaneously after sunset. This is a challenging observation made with the assistance of a binocular or spotting scope. Mercury and Mars are at their closest in the west, with brilliant Venus to the upper left. The moon, Saturn, and Jupiter are in the southeastern sky. The Mercury – Mars conjunction is the closest until 2032.
The first morning appearance of a star before sunrise is known as the heliacal rising of the star. Sirius, the brightest star, makes its first appearance each year during mid-August from mid-northern latitudes.
Venus is low in the western sky after sunset. Find a clear horizon to see it. Forty-five minutes after sunset, the brilliant planet is very low in the sky. Venus begins this observing sequence between the horns of Taurus then steps into Gemini. The moon joins the bright planet on June 11. Venus passes Pollux on June 21.
2021: Venus is the evening star that is visible in the west for the rest of the year beginning in late April. The crescent moon appears with Venus each month. Venus conjunctions occur with Mercury, Mars and bright stars.
July 6, 2021: This is the second bright planet – planet opposition this month. Venus and Saturn are in opposite directions from Earth. Venus sets about the time that Saturn rises. After this date, Venus and Saturn together are in the evening sky until early 2022.
June 26 – June 30, 2021: The bright gibbous moon passes Jupiter and Saturn in the morning sky before sunrise. Observe that the moon is in a different spot each morning, farther east toward the impending sunrise.
June 15, 2021: The moon is with the Sickle of Leo this evening. Step outside about an hour after sunset to find the crescent moon that is about 30% illuminated over one-third of the way up in the west.
July 12, 2021: Venus – Mars conjunction evening. Evening Star Venus passes 0.5° to the upper right of the Red Planet. The crescent moon is nearby. This is the first of three conjunctions of Venus and Mars – a triple conjunction.
July 1, 2021: Saturn and Mars are in opposite directions in the sky. Mars sets as Saturn rises. In about a week, the two planets are visible in the sky at the same time. This event signals that the planet parade is starting to reorganize. During July, three other planet – planet oppositions occur, leading up to a challenging view of the five bright planets during mid-August.
June 11, 2021: During the early evening brilliant Evening Star Venus and the crescent moon appear together in the west-northwest after sunset. The pairing is the second closest during this appearance of Venus in the evening sky.