June 2023: What Planet is Next to the Moon?
In June 2023, the Moon meets Saturn, Venus, and Mars in the sky. Learn what planet is closest to the Moon from this article.
- What is the dot next to the Moon tonight?
- What do astronomers call the approach of the Moon to the planet?
- June events
- July events
- August events
- Bottom line
What is the dot next to the Moon tonight?
From June 5 to June 11, the Moon will visit the constellations Sagittarius, Capricornus, and Aquarius. This week, the planet Saturn (mag 1.0) will be one of the brightest dots near the Moon. The most prominent stars near our natural satellite will be Nunki (mag 2.0) from Sagittarius and Deneb Algedi (mag 2.8) from Capricornus. To make sure what celestial object you’re looking at, use the Sky Tonight app. Now let's take a closer look at the planets near the Moon this month.
What do astronomers call the approach of the Moon to the planet?
In this article, you'll come across several types of celestial events. They all involve the relative positions of the Moon and celestial objects and occur close together in time. However, they differ in detail. Here is what each one means.
Closest approach (appulse)
Closest approach or appulse happens when two celestial objects have the smallest apparent distance as seen from the Earth. For the Moon and planets, appulse often takes place close to conjunction.
Conjunction occurs when two celestial objects have the same apparent right ascension or ecliptic longitude in the sky. In everyday language, the terms “conjunction” and “closest approach” are often used interchangeably. However, conjunction has a more technical meaning and does not necessarily occur with every appulse.
Moon-planet conjunctions occur frequently. Once every 27.3 days, our natural satellite passes through a narrow part of the sky centered on the ecliptic and encounters planets. Planetary conjunctions are less frequent; you can learn more about them in our separate article.
Occultation takes place when a celestial body with a greater apparent diameter passes in front of a body with a smaller apparent diameter; for example, when the Moon passes in front of a star or planet. The occultation of the Sun by the Moon is called a solar eclipse. Each lunar occultation is only visible from some parts of the Earth. That's because the exact position of the Moon in the sky varies by up to 2° at different locations.
How to spot planets next to the Moon?
Here are some things to keep in mind for successful observations.
You may miss the exact time of conjunction or closest approach, but don't worry! Even before or after the exact moment of the event, the objects will stay relatively close together, and that's just as worth observing.
Depending on the angular distance between the objects, some events should be seen with a telescope and some with binoculars. In general, a good 10×50 binocular will give you a 6-7° field of view; for telescopes, this figure varies — it could be less than 1°. You can calculate the field of view of your optics yourself. And, of course, you can also observe an event with the naked eye.
When the Moon is close to its full phase, it outshines fainter objects. For example, you won't be able to see Mercury near a Full Moon because the planet isn't prominent enough. Only the brightest objects, such as Venus or Jupiter, can be seen.
A bright object near the Moon can be a star or a planet. You can tell the difference by checking if the object twinkles. If it does, then it’s a star; if not, it’s a planet. Also, Jupiter and Venus (sometimes Mars and Saturn, too) are way brighter than most stars. You can tell the planets apart by their colors:
- Mercury is gray or brownish;
- Venus is pale yellow;
- Mars is pale pink or bright red;
- Jupiter is orange;
- Saturn is gold.
- To identify an object or find out when objects are closest together for your exact location, use the free stargazing tools — Sky Tonight or Star Walk 2.
Sky Tonight app
To identify an object in the sky with the help of Sky Tonight, follow these steps:
Step 1. Open Sky Tonight and point your device at the sky or tap the big blue button. A live representation of what you see in the sky will appear on the screen, and the app will start to follow your movements.
Step 2. Point your device at the part of the sky where the object is located. For convenience, you can limit the visual magnitude so that only those objects that can be seen with the naked eye appear on the screen. To do this, tap the panel at the bottom of the screen and drag the top slider to the left, closer to the eye icon. From this panel, you can also turn on the night mode, change the constellation appearance, and more.
Step 3. Now you can identify the bright object and get information about it by tapping on its name.
You can also watch our detailed video tutorial.
Star Walk 2 app
To identify an object in the sky with the help of Star Walk 2, follow these steps:
Step 1. Open Star Walk 2 and point your device at the sky or tap the compass icon in the top left corner of the screen. A live representation of what you see in the sky will appear on the screen, and the app will start to follow your movements.
Step 2. Point your device at the part of the sky where the object is located. For convenience, drag the slider on the left down until only the objects you can see in the sky remain on the screen.
Step 3. Now you can identify the bright object and get information about it by tapping on its name at the bottom of the screen.
You can also watch our detailed video tutorial. Find more videos in the Tutorials section.
How to photograph the Moon with planets?
You can take a picture of a planet near the Moon with a professional camera or even a smartphone. Here are some tips to help you:
Check the weather forecast. Open the Sky Tonight app and tap the telescope icon at the bottom. You'll see two tabs — Stargazing Index and Weather. Select the latter and find the date with cloudless weather, so clouds don't interfere with your night of astrophotography.
Find out when objects are well-placed for your location. In Sky Tonight, tap the magnifier icon at the bottom. Enter the name of the object you're interested in and tap the target icon next to the corresponding search result. When the app shows you the object's location, use the panel at the top to scroll through time and determine the best time to take the picture.
Set up a frame. Determine the apparent distance between the Moon and the planet and find their altitude using Sky Tonight. Next, define a rectangle large enough to fit everything you want in the frame, but leave yourself some room. Then use a field of view calculator to find the right lens size for the coverage.
Bring something else into the shot. Depending on your surroundings, it could be a tree or a small house. Here is an example of how a target in the foreground improves a shot. Use the AR mode in Sky Tonight to superimpose the image of the night sky on your background. Tap the big blue button on the main screen for this.
Use a tripod. It will help your camera to stay still and take several pictures from the same angle.
June 9: Moon near Saturn
On June 9, at 20:19 GMT (04:19 p.m. EDT), the 62%-illuminated Moon will pass Saturn (mag 0.7) at a distance of 2°58'. You can find them both in the constellation Aquarius. The objects will share the same right ascension.
On the same day, at 22:29 GMT (06:29 p.m. EDT), the Moon and Saturn will also make a close approach at a distance of 2°42'. The objects will be too far apart to fit into the field of view of a telescope, but they will be easy to see without any special equipment.
June 14: Moon near Jupiter
On June 14, at 05:26 GMT (01:26 a.m. EDT), the 19%-illuminated lunar disk will be shining close to Jupiter (mag -2.1). The distance between the two bodies will be 1°22'. On the same day, the two objects will share the same right ascension. At the moment of conjunction, at 06:33 GMT, they will be 1°30' from each other.
Both the Moon and Jupiter will be in the constellation Aries. Stargazers will have around three hours before sunrise to see the bright planet next to the thin lunar crescent.
June 16: Moon near Mercury
On June 16, at 20:40 GMT (04:40 p.m. EDT), the Moon and Mercury will share the same right ascension. The distance between the two bodies will be 4°18'. Both objects will be in the constellation Taurus. Mercury will shine bright at a magnitude of -0.8, and the lunar disk will be almost invisible two days away from the New Moon. Aldebaran (mag 0.9) will also shine near Mercury. Spot both bright dots near the horizon in the morning.
June 22: Moon near Venus
On June 22, 2023, at 00:47 GMT (June 21, 08:47 p.m. EDT), the Moon and Venus will share the same right ascension in the constellation Cancer. The distance between them will equal 3°41'. The waxing crescent Moon will be 16% illuminated; Venus will have a magnitude of -4.4. You can observe the conjunction with a pair of binoculars or the naked eye.
June 22: Moon near Mars
On June 22, at 10:09 GMT (6:09 a.m. EDT), the Moon will meet Mars in the constellation Leo. Our natural satellite will pass 3°47' away from the planet. The Moon will be 19% illuminated, so you'll see a thin lunar crescent. Mars, at magnitude 1.7, will be relatively faint but visible to the naked eye. Look for them in the evening, just after sunset.
July 7: Moon near Saturn
- Conjunction time: 03:05 GMT (July 6, 11:05 p.m. EDT)
- Conjunction distance: 2°40'
- Close approach time: 04:59 GMT (12:59 a.m. EDT)
- Close approach distance: 2°25'
On July 7, 2023, observe the waning gibbous Moon (illumination 85.0%) near Saturn (mag 0.8). Both celestial bodies will be in the constellation Aquarius. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Moon and the ringed planet will rise around midnight and hang close to the horizon. In the Southern Hemisphere, they will rise at around 10 p.m. and travel across the sky all night, reaching the highest point by 3 a.m. local time.
July 11: Moon near Jupiter
- Close approach time: 19:44 GMT (03:44 p.m. EDT)
- Close approach distance: 2°03'
- Conjunction time: 21:18 GMT (05:18 p.m. EDT)
- Conjunction distance: 2°13'
On July 11, 2023, find prominent Jupiter (mag -2.3) near the waning crescent Moon (illumination 41.5%) in the constellation Aries. Observers from the Northern Hemisphere can start observations at midnight. In the Southern Hemisphere, the planet will appear in the sky at around 2 a.m. local time.
July 19: Moon near Mercury
- Conjunction time: 08:57 GMT (04:57 a.m. EDT)
- Conjunction distance: 3°30'
On July 19, 2023, Mercury (mag -0.4) will be next to the Moon (illumination 1.9%). The lunar disk will be almost invisible, as the conjunction will occur the day after the New Moon. The planet sets one hour after the Sun, so there won't be much time to see it in the sunset rays. Find the Moon and Mercury in the constellation Cancer.
July 20: Moon near Venus
- Conjunction time: 08:38 GMT (04:38 a.m. EDT)
- Conjunction distance: 7°51'
On July 20, 2023, the bright planet Venus (mag -4.6) will meet the Moon (illumination 5.3%) in the constellation Leo. The lunar crescent will be thin and tricky to see. Observe the duo in the evening. You can also spot the prominent star Regulus (mag 1.4) and Mars (mag 1.8) shining nearby.
July 21: Moon near Mars
- Conjunction time: 04:00 GMT (12:00 a.m. EDT)
- Conjunction distance: 3°16'
- Close approach time: 06:57 GMT (02:57 a.m. EDT)
- Close approach distance: 2°57'
On July 21, 2023, the waxing crescent Moon (illumination 10.3%) will be close to Mars (mag 1.8). Both objects will be observable after sunset, in the constellation Leo. Also, see Venus (mag -4.6) and Regulus (mag 1.4) forming a triangle with Mars.
August 3: Moon near Saturn
- Conjunction time: 10:21 GMT (06:21 a.m. EDT)
- Conjunction distance: 2°28'
- Close approach time: 12:03 GMT (08:03 a.m. EDT)
- Close approach distance: 2°15'
On August 3, 2023, the waning gibbous Moon (illumination 98.7%) will meet Saturn (mag 0.6) in the constellation Aquarius. Start your observations at about 10 p.m. local time. By that moment, the sky will get dark, and both celestial bodies will be over the horizon.
August 8: Moon near Jupiter
- Close approach time: 07:45 GMT (03:45 a.m. EDT)
- Close approach distance: 2°39'
- Conjunction time: 09:41 GMT (05:41 a.m. EDT)
- Conjunction distance: 3°
On August 8, 2023, the last quarter Moon (illumination 56.7%) will shine next to bright Jupiter (mag -2.4). Both objects will be in the constellation Aries. They will rise after midnight. By that time, the sky will get dark, and you might see the star Hamal (mag 2.0) nearby.
August 18: Moon near Mercury
- Conjunction time: 11:26 GMT (07:26 a.m. EDT)
- Conjunction distance: 6°56'
On August 18, 2023, two days after the New Moon, the almost invisible lunar disk (illumination 2.8%) will be near Mercury (mag 0.7). Both objects will be in the constellation Leo. Observe them in the evening, as well as Mars (mag 1.8) shining in the neighboring constellation Virgo.
August 18: Moon near Mars
- Conjunction time: August 18, 23:06 GMT (07:06 p.m. EDT)
- Conjunction distance: 2°10'
- Close approach time: August 19, 01:17 GMT (August 18, 09:17 p.m. EDT)
- Close approach distance: 1°55'
On August 18, the thin lunar crescent (illumination 2.8%) will move to the constellation Virgo and meet Mars (mag 1.8). Both objects will be observable in the evening close to the horizon. Mercury (mag 0.7) will be the other bright dot near the Moon.
August 30: Moon near Saturn
- Conjunction time: 18:03 GMT (02:03 p.m. EDT)
- Conjunction distance: 2°29'
- Close approach time: 19:43 GMT (03:43 p.m. EDT)
- Close approach distance: 2°16'
On August 30, the Moon (illumination 99.5%) will shine next to Saturn (mag 0.4) in the constellation Aquarius. You will easily find them in the evening sky. Saturn will reach opposition on August 27, and the Super Full Moon will occur on August 31, so both celestial objects will be exceptionally bright. By the way, this Full Moon will also be the Blue Moon; read our dedicated article to learn what it means.
Now you know what those bright dots near the Moon are. To view the planets and stars near our natural satellite, choose a cloudless night and use Star Walk 2 or Sky Tonight to learn when the celestial objects are best placed for your location. For a visual explanation, watch our recently released video on how to identify bright objects near the Moon using the Sky Tonight app, step by step.
Learn about past conjunctions with the Moon and planets that took place in 2022 in our separate article. Also, see our dedicated article to learn when the Moon passed near the planets in 2023.
Wishing you clear skies and happy observations!