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
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.
- 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.