2021, June 23-30: Evening Star Venus, Mars

June 23 – 30, 2021:  Venus is quickly catching Mars in the western sky after sun.  Venus passes the Red Planet next month.

2021, June 25: Venus, in Cancer, is a above an imaginary line from Castor that extends through Pollux. The Venus – Mars gap is 10.3°.
Chart Caption – 2021, June 25: Venus, in Cancer, is a above an imaginary line from Castor that extends through Pollux. The Venus – Mars gap is 10.3°.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Brilliant Venus shines from the west-northwest after sunset.  Dimmer Mars is to the Twin Planet’s upper left.  The Red Planet is visible to the unaided eye, but a binocular helps see it in the colorful hues of evening twilight.

Venus moves faster eastward along the ecliptic, the solar system’s plane, than Mars.  The brilliant planet passes Mars on July 12.

On June 23, the gap from Venus to Mars is 11.4°.  On this evening, Mars is in front of the Beehive star cluster.  With a binocular view Mars is seemingly snuggled in the cluster.  Watch Mars move away during the next few evenings.

Venus is near Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins.  On June 24, Venus is below an imaginary line that starts at Castor and extends through Pollux.  The next evening, Venus is above that line.

On June 25, Venus moves into Cancer, the sky’s dim region between Pollux and Regulus, a span of nearly 40°.

On June 27, the Venus – Mars gap is 9.1°.

2021, June 30: The Venus – Mars gap is 7.4°.
Chart Caption – 2021, June 30: The Venus – Mars gap is 7.4°.

As the month ends, the gap between the planets is 7.4°.  Venus is approaching the Beehive star cluster.  The stellar bunch is low in the sky during twilight, a situation that is very unfavorable to see. 

2021, June 30: Through a binocular, Venus approaches the Beehive star cluster.
Chart Caption – 2021, June 30: Through a binocular, Venus approaches the Beehive star cluster.

Through a binocular Venus is 2.7° to the lower right of the cluster of stars.

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