2020, June 13: Last Quarter Moon and Morning Planets

2020, June 13: The Last Quarter moon is 4.9° to the lower left of Mars. Farther westward, Jupiter and Saturn are 5.2° apart as they retrograde.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Storm clouds play with the visibility of the morning planets and the moon this morning.  The Last Quarter moon – 21.6 days past the New phase and 49% illuminated – is 4.9° to the lower left of Mars. The Red Planet continues its eastward march.  Earth moves between Mars and the sun on October 13, 2020.

The moon continues to move farther east.  On the morning of June 19, it appears near Venus as the planet emerges into the morning sky.

Jupiter and Saturn are in the south-southwest. Jupiter is 5.2° to the lower right of Saturn.  The Jupiter – Mars gap is nearly 55°. 

Jupiter and Saturn are retrograding.  This is an illusion as Earth moves between these planets and the sun (opposition). Earth passes Jupiter on July 14 and Saturn six days later.  At opposition, a planet rises at sunset, appears in the south near midnight, and sets in the west at sunrise.

During the next month, Jupiter and Saturn appear earlier in the evening sky and lower in the southwest during the predawn hours.

The planets retrograde until September.  Until then the gap between Jupiter and Saturn increases. Jupiter then closes and passes Saturn in a Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020.

Follow the planets in the sky during June.

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