Early Saturday, the moon begins its monthly trip of the planets. Saturn is the first stop!
Look southeast at 1 a.m. local time on Saturday, June 18 to see the waning gibbous moon join Saturn as our satellite begins its monthly journey through the morning planets.
According to skywatching website InTheSky.org, the duo will be too far apart to fit into a telescope’s field of vision, but will be visible to the naked eye or via a pair of binoculars (opens in new tab).
As Jupiter and Mars congregate to their left in the early hours of Saturday morning, the two will be joined by a succession of dazzling early risers (celestial east). Shortly before daybreak, Mercury and Venus will join the celebration.
Because the actual timing of the event changes depending on where you are, use a skywatching app like SkySafari or software like Starry Night to establish the ideal local time to gaze up. Our top selections for the finest stargazing apps can be useful in your preparations.
This month, skywatchers will be treated to a rare “planet parade,” when all five naked-eye planets line up in their orbital order from the sun across the predawn sky. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn may all be seen in a row in the southeast sky, from left to right. (Mercury will be close to the horizon at the beginning of the month, but will grow more visible as the month progresses.)
According to a news release from Sky&Telescope(opens in new tab), the optimum time to observe this spectacle will be on June 24, when Mercury will rise approximately an hour before the sun.
The moon will continue to pass by the morning planets throughout June, embarking on a planetary “meet and greet.” The moon will go to Jupiter on June 21, Mars on June 22, and Venus on June 26 after passing near to Saturn on June 18. When the crescent moon slithers past Mercury on June 27, the voyage will come to an end.
Are you hoping to get a decent picture of the moon as it goes through the planetary procession? Some pointers on how to photograph the moon may be found in our guide. If you’re searching for a camera, check out our list of the best cameras for astrophotography and the finest astrophotography lenses. As always, our reviews of the top telescopes and binoculars will assist you in preparing for your trip.