June 14, 2023: The thin crescent moon joins Jupiter in a beautiful conjunction before sunrise. Brilliant Venus continues to gleam in western evening sky.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:15 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:27 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location. Times are calculated by the U.S. Naval Observatory’s MICA computer program.
Summaries of Current Sky Events
SUMMARY FOR VENUS AS AN EVENING STAR
Here is today’s planet forecast:
A thin crescent moon, 14% illuminated, and Jupiter make a lovely pair in the morning sky. One hour before sunup the thin moon is 2.6° to the left of Jupiter. Look for them about 15° up in the east at one hour before daybreak.
Find a clear view toward the eastern horizon. A view from a hilltop or elevated structure provides views across any obstacles.
Earthshine, sunlight reflected from Earth’s features, gently illuminates the lunar night.
The sight is amplified through a binocular. Depending on the quality of the binocular and your ability to hold it steady, one or two of Jupiter’s moons is visible.
Jupiter is slowly moving eastward against Aries. The Jovian Giant is 11.2° to the lower right of Hamal, the constellation’s brightest star.
At this hour, Saturn is in the south-southeast, over 30° above the horizon. It moves slowly eastward against Aquarius’ distant, dim stars. The Ringed Wonder is about 20° to the upper left of Fomalhaut, the mouth of the southern fish. Deneb Kaitos, the tail of Cetus, is low in the east-southeast.
Mercury is quickly retreating into brighter morning twilight. The moon is visible with it through a binocular in two mornings. The speedy planet is bright but washed out by the impending sunrise. A binocular is needed to locate it. Can you find Jupiter and the lunar crescent at this hour? It is less than 5° above the east-northeast horizon at 30 minutes before sunrise.
Brilliant Venus gleams from the west after sundown. It can be simply described as “that bright star” in the west. The planet steps eastward in front of Cancer’s dim stars, 6.1° to the lower right of dimmer Mars.
Mars, about the brightness of Castor, a Gemini Twin, marches eastward slower than Venus, and the gap between the planets shrinks each night.
Through a binocular Venus is 1.5° to the upper right of the Beehive cluster, also known as the Praesepe or manger. The Evening Star appears above an imaginary line that starts at Asellus Australis and extends to Asellus Borealis. The two stars are celestial donkeys eating from the manger.
The Venus-Mars gap continues to close each night. Watch the planetary pursuit stall as Venus does not pass the Red Planet.
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