Follow the eastern sky before dawn on Wednesday (June 22nd) to see the crescent moon approach Mars as it continues its orbit around the morning planets.
“The moonthe beautiful crescent will take up a palm-wide position to the right of the reddish point of Mars. “Writes Chris Vaughn, an amateur astronomer with SkySafari software who monitors Space.com Night sky calendar. “Bright Jupiter will shine in their upper right corner (or the west of heaven).”
The couple will be an interesting target for stargazing, as they will look close enough to share the same field of view in a pair of binoculars. They will rise above the eastern horizon around 1:56 a.m. EDT (0556 GMT). Observers in the Southern Ocean region will also be able to see the occult satellite of Mars around 18:00 GMT, according to Vaughan.
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 local time to search. Our choices for the best star monitoring apps can help you with your planning.
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and perhaps one of the most distinctive planets in the world night sky due to its famous red hue. It gets its color from the oxidation or rust of iron-rich minerals in its regolith, the loose dust and rocks that cover its surface.
We hope you take a good picture of the moon as it approaches Mars? 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.
The coziness of the Moon and Mars is not the only event to observe the sky this month. Throughout June, a rare “parade of planets” will be seen in the sky before dawn, while all five planets with the naked eye line up in 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, usually hidden from the sun, will become easier to spot as 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 from Sky & Telescope.
Throughout June, the Moon will continue to travel past the morning planets, embarking on a planetary “meeting and greeting.” After Mars, the next stop on the orbit is Venus on June 26 and finally Mercury on June 27.