Venus and the crescent moon appear together. Venus joins Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter in the morning sky.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Venus and the crescent moon appear together in the east-northeastern sky this morning during early morning twilight. The old moon, 27.8 days past the New phase, is only 4% illuminated. It makes its closest grouping with Venus during this appearance of the brilliant planet.
Venus continues to climb into the morning sky, appearing in the eastern sky before sunrise for the rest of the year.
Earlier, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter appeared in the southern sky. Mars, over one-third of the way up in the sky in the southeast, is marching eastward compared to the stars, opening a larger gap with Jupiter and Saturn. This morning that gap is over 58°.
Jupiter and Saturn appear in the south-southwest. Their separation is 5.4°. Both planets are retrograding as Earth is nearly between them and the sun. Nearly each year, our faster moving planet moves between the sun and this outer planet pair. For a time before and after Earth’s movement between them and the sun (opposition), they seem to backup compared to the starry background. The planets’ normal movement is eastward compared to the stars.
For Jupiter, this year’s opposition is July 14. Saturn’s opposition is July 20. Mars’ opposition is October 13. It begins to retrograde in early September.
While the sun, moon, stars, and planets, rise in the east and set in the west, the planets move eastward compared to the stars. Jupiter and Saturn continue to retrograde until September. After Jupiter and Saturn begin their forward (direct) motion, Jupiter overtakes Saturn in a Great Conjunction that occurs once every 19.6 years.
Next month, Mercury enters the morning sky. On July 19, the five bright planets and the crescent moon appear in the morning sky.
Follow the planets in the sky during June.