The planets seem especially busy this month, highlighting both morning and evening skies. Venus reigns as the Evening Star, and points out some interesting sights in Gemini and Cancer during the month. Saturn puts in its best showing of the year, with Jupiter just past its best. And Mars climbs inexorably across the sky, toward its best appearance next month.
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In the Sky This Month
June 24: Saturn at Opposition
The planet Saturn is low in the southeast as night falls, and looks like a bright star. Its luster is dimmed by the gibbous Moon, far to Saturn’s upper right. Even so, Saturn outshines all but a few other objects in the night sky, so it’s hard to miss.
June 25: Moon and Antares
Antares, one of the brightest stars in the night sky, is not far to the lower right of the almost-full Moon at nightfall. Antares is near the middle of the curved body of Scorpius, which is in the south-southeast.
June 26: Delphinus
Delphinus, the dolphin, glides through the Milky Way on summer evenings. Tonight it rises not long after sunset and arcs high overhead. Look for it below the Summer Triangle, which is well up in the east a couple of hours after darkness falls.
June 27: More Saturn at Opposition
Saturn lines up opposite the Sun today, so it rises at sunset and is in view all night. A planet is closest to Earth at opposition, so it shines brightest for the year. Tonight, Saturn will stick close to the Moon.
June 28: Colorful Arcturus
Arcturus, the leading light of Bootes, the herdsman, stands high in the south as twilight turns to darkness. It is the brightest true star in the sky during the evening hours, so it’s hard to miss. It shines yellow-orange.
June 29: Moon and Mars
The planet Mars is growing brighter by the day. It’s in good view in the southeast by midnight, and looks like a bright orange star. Tonight, it stands to the lower left of the Moon.
June 30: More Moon and Mars
The gibbous Moon has a famous companion tonight: the planet Mars. It is to the lower right of the Moon as they climb into good view, around midnight, and almost directly below the Moon at first light tomorrow. Mars looks like a bright orange star.