Look to the southeast on Saturday (June 18th) around 1am local time and you can enjoy a view of the fading wave the moon joining Saturn as our satellite begins its lunar journey along the morning planets.
“It will shine with a wide palm width in the lower right corner of the yellowish dot of Saturn“, Writes geophysicist Chris Vaughn, an amateur astronomer with the SkySafari software that runs Space.com Night sky calendar.
The pair will be too far apart to fit in the telescope’s field of vision, but will be visible to the naked eye or through binoculars, according to the Skywatching website. InTheSky.org (opens in a new section).
In the early hours of Saturday morning, the couple will be joined by a procession of bright early risers, while Jupiter and Mars gather on the left (heavenly east). Mercury and Venus will join the party shortly before sunrise.
The exact time of the event varies depending on your specific location, so you’ll want to check out a sky monitoring app like SkySafari or software like Starry Night to confirm the best local search time. Our choices for the best star monitoring apps can help you with your planning.
Sky watchers are undergoing a rare “planetary parade” this month, as all five planets with the naked eye line up across the surveillance sky in their orbital order from the sun. From left to right in the southeastern sky you will be able to notice mercury, Venus, March, Jupiter and Saturn all in a row. (Mercury will be quite close to the horizon at the beginning of the month, but it becomes easier to notice when the moon matures.)
The best opportunity to see this spectacle may come on June 24, as Mercury should rise about an hour before the sun, according to press release (opens in a new section) from Sky & Telescope.
Throughout June, the Moon will continue to travel past the morning planets, embarking on a planetary “meeting and greeting.” After passing near Saturn on June 18, the moon will continue to Jupiter on June 21, Mars on June 22 and Venus on June 26. She will complete her tour on June 27, when the crescent moon glides past Mercury.
We hope you take a good picture of the moon as it passes through the planetary parade? Our guide for how to photograph the moon there are some useful tips. If you are looking for a camera, here is our review of the best astrophotography cameras and the best astrophotography lenses. As always, our guides for the best telescopes and the best binoculars can help you prepare for the next great sky watching event.
Editor’s note: If you took a great photo of the moon during its journey and want to share it with Space.com readers, send your photo (s), comments, and your name and location to email@example.com.