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Planets visible to the naked eye

  • Photo: Sophie Desrosiers

    From June 3 to 17, 2019

    Mercury gradually reappears in the evening sky, where it will remain visible until late June. With binoculars, scan the west-northwest horizon 30 minutes after sunset, looking for a tiny point of light shining through the colours of twilight. Mars and Mercury are gradually approaching each other and they’ll be in conjunction after mid-June: On the evening of June 18, less than one third of a degree will separate them (Mercury is currently the brighter of the two). On the evening of June 4, the thin crescent moon hangs 5 ½ degrees to the left of Mercury.

    Venus, the dazzling Morning Star, appears very low in the east-northeast at dawn. It emerges above the horizon just 45 minutes before sunrise; 20 minutes before sunrise, it stands only about 5 degrees high. On the morning of July 1, the thin lunar crescent appears about 7 degrees to the right of the Venus, very low on the east-northeast horizon.

    Mars is now about as far from Earth and faint as it can appear to us. The Red Planet appears lower and lower at dusk: you’ll find it less than 10 degrees high in the west-northwest one hour after sunset, to the upper left of Mercury (which is currently the brighter of the two); Mars sets around 10:30 p.m. Notice how Mars and Mercury are approaching each other from one night to the next; they’ll be in conjunction after mid-June. On the evening of June 18, they’ll be less than one third of a degree apart. On the evening of June 5, the waxing crescent moon hangs 5 ½ degrees to the upper left of the Red Planet.

    Jupiter shines brightly in the south in the middle of the night. The Giant Planet is at opposition on June 10: around that period, it rises in the southeast at sunset and gradually climbs in the sky, culminates some 22 degrees above the southern horizon around 1:00 a.m., and sets in the southwest about sunrise. The full Moon will shine a few degrees to the left of Jupiter during the night of June 16 to 17.

    Saturn is visible mostly during the second half of the night and at dawn. The Ringed Planet emerges in the southeast around 11:00 p.m. and culminates at the break of dawn 23 degrees high in the south. The waning gibbous Moon hangs less than 2 degrees below Saturn during the night of June 18 to 19.

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