2023, June 14: Lovely Jupiter-Moon Conjunction


June 14, 2023: The thin crescent moon joins Jupiter in a beautiful conjunction before sunrise.  Brilliant Venus continues to gleam in western evening sky.

2020, July 17: The moon appears 3.3° to the left of Venus. Aldebaran is 3.2° to the upper right of Venus.


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


Here is today’s planet forecast:

Morning Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, June 14: Jupiter and the crescent moon are in the eastern sky an hour before sunrise.

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.

Photo Caption – Venus and the crescent moon. Notice the “earthshine” on the night portion of the moon.

Earthshine, sunlight reflected from Earth’s features, gently illuminates the lunar night. 

Chart Caption – 2023, June 14: Look for earthshine on the moon through a binocular.

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.

Chart Caption – 2023, June 14: Saturn is in the south-southeast during morning twilight.

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.

Chart Caption – 2023, June 14: Retreating Mercury is low in the east-northeast at 30 minutes before sunrise.

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.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, June 14: Venus and Mars are in the western sky after sundown.

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.

Chart Caption – 2023, June 14: Through a binocular, Venus is above the Beehive star cluster.

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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