2020: June 12: Mars and the Gibbous Moon

Mars, Moon, Saturn, and Jupiter, June 12, 2020
2020, June 12: The slightly gibbous moon appears near Mars. The Red Planet is over 54° from Jupiter. Jupiter and Saturn are 5.1° apart. Both are retrograding.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

This morning the slightly gibbous moon – that is 20.6 days past the New phase and 58% illuminated – is 8.5° to the lower right of Mars.  While the sky is too bright in the image above, Mars is 1.7° to the lower right of Neptune.

Tomorrow morning, the moon is 4.9° to the lower left of Mars.

Mars continues its eastward march against the starry background. The gap to Jupiter is over 54°, widening each morning.  Mars is at opposition – Earth between Mars and the sun – on October 13, 2020.

In the south-southwest, bright Jupiter is 5.1° to the lower right of Saturn.  Both planets are retrograding – moving westward compared to the starry background.  This is an illusion as our faster moving planet catches the slower moving outer planets and they seem to backup.

Jupiter is at opposition on July 14, while Earth passes Saturn six days later.

Jupiter and Saturn retrograde until September. Until then, the gap between them widens slightly each morning.  Jupiter then closes and passes Saturn in a Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020.

After its inferior conjunction on June 3, Venus moves into the morning sky later this month, joining this planetary trio. In a week, the crescent moon appears near Venus.

Follow the planets in the sky during June.

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