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.

Chart Caption – 2021, June 13: The crescent moon is above Mars.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Two evenings after the crescent moon appeared with Venus, the lunar slice appears 2.9° above Mars and over 10° to the upper left of Pollux.

Step outside about 45 minutes after sunset and look to the west-northwest for the crescent. Follow the pair until they set over 2.5 hours after sunset and 15 minutes after the end of evening twilight.

The planet and the moon appear in the same binocular field.  Notice the gentle illumination on the moon’s night portion.  This is earthshine, from sunlight reflected from Earth’s oceans, land, and clouds. This evening from the moon, Earth is a bright gibbous phase. The same occurs when a bright moon illuminates the terrestrial landscape.

If the observations are made early in the evening, brilliant Venus is about 20° to the lower right of the lunar crescent.  The planet is easily observed through the delicate, colorful hues of early evening.

The crescent moon appears near Venus as the brilliant planet approaches the star Elnath.

Photograph the moon and capture earthshine with a tripod-mounted camera.  Exposures can range up to a few seconds.  On the photo above the moon was photographed with a 140mm lens at f/5.6.  The exposure was 4 seconds with an ISO set at 100.  The waning crescent moon was 14% illuminated, similar to the phase this evening.

Articles and Summaries

2021 – 2022, Venus – Mars Triple Conjunction

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.

2021, July 6: Venus – Saturn Opposition

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.

2021, June 26 – June 30: Bright Moon, Morning Planets

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.

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.

Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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