2021, June: With a crescent moon in the eastern sky, bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southern sky. Saturn is retrograding in Capricornus, while Jupiter begins to slow its eastward progress in Aquarius.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Step outside during morning twilight during early June. A crescent moon shines from the eastern sky. Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the south.
Jupiter resembles a bright star. Its reflected sunlight makes it the brightest star in the sky this morning. The Jovian Giant is in front of the stars of Aquarius.
The planets move eastward compared to their starry background. During the first week of June, Jupiter moves about 0.3° to the east compared to the stars Iota Aquarii (ι Aqr on the chart), Theta Aquarii (θ Aqr) – “the knee” – and Sigma Aquarii (σ Aqr).
Jupiter is approaching the point where it stops moving eastward and begins to retrograde, an illusion of our faster moving Earth passing between the planet and the sun. From June 8 – June 21, Jupiter only advances another 0.3° eastward, when retrogrades begins.
Use a binocular to locate the planet among the dim stars of the constellation.
Saturn is over 18° to the west (right) of Jupiter. It is brighter than all the stars except for Jupiter, Arcturus, and Vega.
Saturn began retrograding last month and it is noticeably moving westward compared to the star Theta Capricorni (θ Cap). The planet stopped moving eastward and began its apparent westward trek on May 22. The Ringed Wonder stops retrograding on October 10.
Use a binocular to note the planet’s changing place compare to Theta.
Articles and Summaries
- Venus as an Evening Star
- Venus Evening Star (Summary)
- Mercury during May 2021
- Mars during 2021 (Summary)
- Planets during June 2021
During 2021 into 2022, Venus passes Mars three times for a triple conjunction. The first occurs on July 12, 2021. The others occur during early 2022, followed by a close approach of the two planets.
July 6, 2021: This is the second bright planet – planet opposition this month. Venus and Saturn are in opposite directions from Earth. Venus sets about the time that Saturn rises. After this date, Venus and Saturn together are in the evening sky until early 2022.
June 19, 2021: The waxing moon appears with Spica in the southwestern sky during the early evening hours.
June 26 – June 30, 2021: The bright gibbous moon passes Jupiter and Saturn in the 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.