The brightest planets in June’s night sky: How to see them (and when)

I’m sure many of you have seen how a magician makes something or someone appear to vanish, only to make that thing or person reappear a short time later . . . usually in a completely different location.  Well, that’s the kind of vanishing act that the planet Venus has just pulled off.  After dominating our western evening sky during the first half of this year, the brightest planet suddenly left the scene on June 3rd, only to quickly reassert itself in the eastern morning sky.  But the evening sky will not be devoid of a bright planet for too long, as Jupiter and Saturn come up over the east-southeast horizon before midnight at the start of the month and will be well placed for viewing by late evening as the month comes to a close. And before Jupiter and Saturn take the title as this summer’s planetary dynamic duo of the evening, Mercury will serve as the lone early evening planet for the first 10 days of the month, sharing the spotlight with the Gemini Twins, Pollux and Castor.  Meanwhile, Mars continues to approach Earth and continues to slowly ramp-up in brilliance; the combination of its increasing luster and fiery hue call attention to it for anyone outdoors during the predawn hours.  

In our schedule, remember that when measuring the angular separation between two celestial objects, your clenched fist held at arm’s length measures roughly 10-degrees.  Here, we present a schedule below which provides some of the best planet viewing times as well directing you as to where to look to see them.

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