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Planets visible to the naked eye

  • Photo: Sophie Desrosiers
    Planets visible to the naked eye

    From June 14 to 28, 2021

    Mercury is presently too close to the Sun and is not visible. The tiny planet slipped between Earth and the Sun (inferior conjunction) on June 11. Mercury then emerges at dawn at the end of June where it will be visible in the morning sky until the third week of July.

    Venus is the bright Evening Star that shines low in the west-northwest, 30 minutes after sunset; Venus itself sets about 90 minutes after the Sun. Venus is closing in on Mars, and the two planets are just ½ degree apart on July 12 and 13. On the evening of July 11, the very thin crescent moon shines 5 degrees to the right of Venus and Mars.

    Mars is receding from Earth, and although its brightness has decreased a lot since opposition last October, it’s still fairly bright. The Red Planet appears at dusk about 15 degrees high in the west, to the upper left of bright Venus, and sets in the west-northwest around 11:00 p.m. On the evening of June 23, the Red Planet passes in front of the Beehive Cluster (Messier 44). Venus is approaching Mars from the lower right, and the two planets are just ½ degree apart on July 12 and 13. On the evening of July 11, the very thin crescent moon shines 5 degrees to the right of Venus and Mars.

    Jupiter is visible during the second half of the night and at dawn: The Giant Planet emerges in the east-southeast around 12:30 a.m. At dawn, it shines brightly some 32 degrees high in the south. On the mornings of June 28 and 29, the waning gibbous Moon shines below Jupiter.

    Saturn is visible during the second half of the night and at dawn. The Ringed Planet rises in the east-southeast before midnight. At dawn, Saturn shines some 27 degrees high in the south, about 20 degrees to the right of very bright Jupiter. On the morning of June 27, the waning gibbous Moon shines 5 degrees below Saturn.

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