2021, June 1 – June 7: Evening Star Venus and Mars

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June 1 – June 7, 2021:  Evening Star Venus shines in the western sky after sunset.  Mars is over 20° to the upper left of Venus during this week.  Venus cuts the gap to Mars during the month.  Use a binocular to watch Venus pass a star cluster and Mars move eastward in the Pollux region.

Chart Caption – 2021, Early June: Brilliant Venus is low in the west-northwest after sunset. Mars, in the Pollux area of Gemini, is over 20° to the upper left of Venus.

By Jeffrey L. Hunt

Brilliant Evening Star Venus shines in the western sky after sunset as June opens.  Mars is to the upper left of Venus.

Begin looking for Venus about 45 minutes after sunset.  It is low in the west-northwest, about 6° above the horizon.  At this hour, the planet is easily located in the multi-hues of evening twilight.  A clear horizon, without obstructions, is needed to get the best views.  A hilltop or elevated structure helps as necessary.

Venus is stepping eastward at the Taurus – Gemini border.  It moves into Gemini on June 2.

Mars is much dimmer than it was at the beginning of the year. It is marching eastward through Gemini, in the Pollux area of the sky

On June 1, the planet is in line with Pollux and Kappa Geminorum (κ Gem on the chart).  The Red Planet is naked eye.  A binocular helps with the view.

Venus is moving eastward faster than Mars and overtakes it on July 12 in a conjunction.

Each evening, watch the gap close.  On June 1, the gap between them is nearly 25°.  By the evening of June 7, the gap is reduced to over 21°.

Here are some notable events for these seven evenings with the with Venus and Mars.

Chart Caption – 2021, June 1: Mars is in line with Pollux and Kappa Geminorum. The trio easily fits into the field of view of a binocular.

June 1:  Mars is on a line with Pollux and Kappa Geminorum.

Chart Caption – 2021, June 3: With a binocular, Venus is 0.3° to the lower right of the star cluster Messier 35 (M35). The planet is 2.6° to the right of Eta Geminorum (η Gem) and 4.1° to the lower right of Mu Geminorum.

June 3:  Use a binocular to spot Venus 0.3° to the lower right of the star cluster Messier 35 (M35).  The cluster is in a challenging place in the sky to see, because of its low altitude and twilight. The planet is 2.6° to the right of Propus (η Gem) and 4.1° to the lower right Tejat Posterior (μ Gem).  The stars’ names mean “the projecting foot” and “the heel,” respectively.

Chart Caption – 2021, June 4: With a binocular, Venus is 0.9° to the upper left of the star cluster Messier 35 (M35), 2.6° to the upper right of Eta Geminorum (η Gem), and 3.1° to the lower right of Mu Geminorum.

June 4:  Venus is 0.9° to the upper left of the star cluster M35, 2.0° to the upper right of the star Eta Geminorum and 3.1° to the lower right of Mu Geminorum.

June 6:  Venus passes 1.9° to the upper right of Mu Geminorum.

June 7:  Forty-five minutes after sunset, Venus is about 7° above the west-northwest horizon.  Mars is over 21° to the upper left of the brilliant planet.  The Red Planet is 7.3° to the left of Pollux.

Articles and Summaries

2021, June 15: Moon, Sickle of Leo

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.

2021, July 12: Venus – Mars Conjunction

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.

2021, July 1, Saturn – Mars Opposition

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.

2021, June 13: Moon Passes Mars

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.



Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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