The planets Venus and Mars are an astonishing sight in June and worth looking up

June 2023 is an excellent time to observe Venus and Mars, our curious planetary neighbors. Various other celestial objects are also visible during this month. According to NASA, “The planets of war and love draw nearer each night, as the bright stars of the northern hemisphere summer rise,”.


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How to view Mars and Venus

All you need to do is look up on clear nights, even in light-polluted areas. “You can watch Mars and Venus draw closer together throughout the month in the western sky following sunset,” explains NASA.

Mars, with a reddish hue, will appear to the upper left of vivid Venus:

Mars and Venus in the June 2023 sky.

Mars and Venus in the June 2023 sky.
Credit: NASA

Venus is an extraordinary world with a surface temperature hotter than a pizza oven, reaching around 900 Fahrenheit. Despite this, it is exceptionally bright and the second brightest object in the night sky after the moon. Venus is enveloped in thick clouds, primarily composed of toxic sulfuric acid, which reflects an abundance of sunlight into outer space. For at least thousands of years, Venus has fascinated humans, and the author of “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey,” Homer, called it “the most beautiful star in the sky,” according to NASA.

Mars, other than Earth, is the most explored planet in our solar system. Planetary scientists speculate that Mars was once a warm and watery world, with vast oceans, lakes, and rivers. However, over time Mars’ atmosphere vanished, and it became a remarkably dry desert region. NASA and other space agencies are vigorously investigating this planet, looking for clues of past habitability and signs of extinct life, if any ever existed there.

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How to observe other intriguing sky objects

In addition to Venus and Mars, other celestial curiosities are visible for sky-watchers:

  • Jupiter and Saturn: Early risers or night owls may see the gas giants before sunrise. “Early risers will find them on the eastern side of the sky before sun-up all month long,” says NASA. “And you’ll find Jupiter rising with the crescent Moon on June 14.”

  • Huge, vivid stars: During June evenings, two bright stars will be visible towards the south. Spica is a blue-white giant, and Arcturus, just some 37 light-years away, is an orange star that is older than the sun.

  • The Summer Triangle: Look east a couple of hours after sunset to find three stars making up the “Summer Triangle”: Vega, Deneb, and Altair.

The bright stars Spica and Arcturus, visible after sunset.

The bright stars Spica and Arcturus, visible after sunset.
Credit: NASA

Enjoy the ethereal marvels above.

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