June 2, 2022: The four morning planets – Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn – continue to spread out along the ecliptic in the eastern sky before sunrise. The moon is near the Gemini Twin Pollux after sundown.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:18 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:20 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The four morning planets continue to scatter along the ecliptic in the eastern sky before sunrise. Likely the easiest planet to spot is bright Jupiter. An hour before sunrise, the solar system’s largest planet is over 20° above the east-southeast horizon.
Dimmer Mars is 2.4° to the lower left of the Jovian Giant. It is marching away from Jupiter and the gap widens every morning.
Brilliant Venus outshines all the other stars in the morning sky, but it is only 7° up in the east, possibly hiding behind neighborhood houses or trees. It is 31.6° to the lower left of Jupiter.
The fourth morning planet is Saturn, nearly 30° up in the south-southeast. The gap to Venus continues to widen. This morning it is 70.3°.
Mercury is slowly emerging from bright twilight for an unfavorable appearance. Later in the month, it appears with the other four bright worlds. At that time, they are in order from the sun in the eastern sky – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, but they are not in a line from the sun.
This morning, look for the star Fomalhaut, above the southeastern horizon and to the lower left of Saturn.
After sundown, the crescent moon is in the western sky. An hour after sunset, it is over 20° above the west-northwest horizon and 3.5° to the lower left of the Gemini Twin Pollux.
Look for earthshine on the night portion of the moon. Sunlight reflects from Earth’s clouds, oceans, and land to illuminate the lunar night.
- 2023, October 23: Venus at Greatest ElongationOctober 23, 2023: Venus moves to its farthest angular distance from the sun today, known as greatest elongation. During morning twilight, the Morning Star passes Leo’s Chertan.
- 2023, October 22: Moon Approaches SaturnOctober 22, 2023: During evening hours, the gibbous moon nears Saturn in the southern sky. Venus and Jupiter are visible during morning twilight.
- 2023, October 21: Three Bright Planets, First Quarter MoonOctober 21, 2023: Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are easy to locate during nighttime hours. The First Quarter moon phase occurs this evening.
- 2023, October 20: Jupiter’s Double Shadows, Mercury at Superior ConjunctionOctober 20: After midnight, Jupiter’s moons’ shadows dance across the cloud tops. Mercury is at superior conjunction.
- 2023, October 19: Poured Moon, See Planet UranusOctober 19: Sagittarius seems to pour the moon into the sky this evening. Find Uranus with a binocular.