Sky Report, June-July 2020
Sky Report by Ted Gruber
Jupiter (magnitude -2.7) and Saturn (0.3) have returned to the late evening sky. Jupiter rises in the southeast a little before 11:00pm, and Saturn a bit past 11:00pm. By mid-July, Jupiter and Saturn rise about two hours earlier.
On the evening of July 5, and continuing into the early morning hours of July 6, the full moon, Jupiter, and Saturn form a small triangle when the moon passes about 2° south of the two planets.
Mars (magnitude -0.3), Jupiter, and Saturn are visible in the morning sky, with Jupiter and Saturn now rising in the late evening. Mars rises in the eastern sky about 1:30am, and all three planets remain visible until fading into the morning sunlight. By mid-July, Jupiter and Saturn set in the southwest about the same time the sun rises opposite them in the northeast, while Mars rises just after midnight and remains visible until it fades away as dawn breaks.
Venus (magnitude -4.2) has returned to the morning sky, rising in the east-northeast about 4:30am and about 90 minutes sooner by mid-July. On the morning of June 19, Venus and the moon appear less than 1° apart.
The Pleiades star cluster, also known as M45, appears about 10° above Venus. And by the end of June, Venus will be near the red giant star Aldebaran (magnitude 0.87), the brightest star in the constellation Taurus. Venus moves nearer to Aldebaran each morning until their closest approach on July 12, when the bright planet and the reddish star appear just 1° apart.
Mercury returns to the morning sky in early July, rising around 4:30am by mid-month. On the morning of July 19, Mercury will be at magnitude 0.8 and appears just to the right of a crescent moon in the east-northeast sky, which should help you locate the innermost planet.
New (6/21), first (6/28), full (7/5), last (7/12), new (7/20), first (7/27).
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