Bright Mars shines from Pisces in the west, while Morning Star Venus appears in the eastern sky before sunrise.
By Jeffrey L. Hunt
Bright Mars shines from the western sky this morning from the stars of Pisces. Now past its closest approach to Earth and its opposition with the sun, the planet shines in the sky nearly all night.
The Red Planet is nearing its opposition with Venus. After that date, Mars sets before Venus rises.
This morning Mars is 1.2° below dim 80 Piscium (80 Psc on the photo) and 3.1° to the lower left of Epsilon Piscium (ε Psc).
Mars is retrograding – moving westward compared to the background stars. This is an illusion from Earth passing and moving away from the planet. Mars resumes its eastward motion compared to the stars on November 13.
As morning twilight progresses, brilliant Venus rises higher in the east. It is stepping eastward in the stars of Virgo. It is 3.1° to the lower left of Beta Virginis (β Vir on the photo) and 4.6° to the upper right of Eta Virginis (η Vir).
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 13, 2021: After sunset, look for the thin crescent moon near Mars. The lunar sliver is also to the upper left of the star Pollux.