Celestial Events in June 2023: From Luminous Venus to Large Planetary Alignment
In June, summer begins in the Northern Hemisphere; nights there become much shorter and lighter, meaning, unfortunately, worse viewing conditions. However, warmer nights are much more comfortable for stargazing, and it's a great time to explore the night sky a little longer. In contrast, in the Southern Hemisphere, winter takes over, bringing longer, darker and colder nights. They may be less comfortable, but they are certainly worth it for astronomy enthusiasts. Let’s see what observers from both hemispheres will get to see in the sky this month.
- Astronomical events in June 2023
- Planets in June 2023
- Venus at greatest elongation in June 2023
- Large planetary alignment in June 2023
- June Solstice 2023
- Comets in June 2023
- Meteor showers in June 2023
- How to navigate the night sky?
- Bottom line
Astronomical events in June 2023
Note that the data are specified for the mid-latitudes. To learn when exactly the event is visible from your location, use the Sky Tonight app.
- June 1: Uranus’ morning visibility begins.
- June 2: Mars (mag 1.6) passes 0°6' from the Beehive Cluster (mag 3.1).
- June 3: Moon passes 0°23' from Antares (mag 1.0).
- June 4: Full Strawberry Moon; Venus (mag -4.4) at its greatest evening elongation.
- June 7: Daytime Arietid meteor shower’s peak.
- June 9: Moon passes 2°58' from Saturn (mag 0.7).
- June 11: Mercury (mag -0.4) passes 6°12' from the Pleiades (mag 1.2).
- June 13: Venus (mag -4.5) passes 0°30' from the Beehive Cluster (mag 3.1).
- June 14: Moon passes 1°22' from Jupiter (mag -2.1).
- June 16: Moon passes 2° from the Pleiades (mag 1.2) in the morning.
- June 17: Saturn begins retrograde motion; large morning alignment of Saturn, Neptune, Jupiter, Uranus, and Mercury within a 93-degree sky sector.
- June 18: New Moon.
- June 20: Moon passes 1°54' from Pollux (mag 1.2).
- June 21: June solstice.
- June 22: Moon passes 3°41' from Venus (mag -4.4); Moon passes 3°47' from Mars (mag 1.7).
- June 27: Moon passes 1°34' from Spica (mag 1.3).
- June 30: Neptune begins retrograde motion; Moon passes 6° from Antares (mag 1.0) in the evening.
Planets in June 2023
Mercury (mag -0.3) is visible in the morning, near the eastern horizon in the constellation Taurus until the middle of the month. Then it comes too close to the Sun and disappears in its glare. Spot Venus (mag -4.6) in the evening above the western horizon, in the constellation Cancer. Not-so-bright Mars (mag 1.7) is low in the west in the same constellation in the evening. In the morning, look for Jupiter (mag -2.1) low in the east in Aries; it’s visible for no longer than an hour. Saturn (mag 0.8) is visible in the morning above the southeast horizon in Aquarius. Use binoculars or a telescope to find Uranus (mag 5.7) near the eastern horizon in Aries and Neptune (mag 7.9) in Pisces in the morning.
In the morning, look for Mercury (mag -0.3) low above the northeast horizon in Aries at the beginning of the month and in Taurus at the end. Venus (mag -4.6) is in the northwest in the constellation Cancer in the evening. Mars (mag 1.7) is nearby in the same constellation until mid-June when it moves to Leo. Look for Jupiter (mag -2.0) high above the northeast horizon in the morning in Aries. Saturn (mag 0.8) can be seen in the same direction at night and in the morning in Aquarius. Also, find Uranus (mag 5.8) nearby in Aries in the morning. Neptune (mag 7.9) is visible in Pisces at the beginning of the month in the morning. Remember to use binoculars or a telescope to see the last two planets on the list.
Venus at greatest elongation in June 2023
On June 4, 2023, Venus will reach its greatest elongation. Simply put, the planet will be at its greatest apparent distance from the Sun, so it's the best time for observers to see the planet in the sky. Look for Venus in the evening, in the direction of the sunset. You won't mistake it for another star or planet — these days, Venus shines brighter than any other object in the sky.
Large planetary alignment in June 2023
On June 17, observe Saturn, Neptune, Jupiter, Uranus, and Mercury lining up in the morning sky. The planets will fit into a 93-degree sky sector. Since Mercury is very close to the Sun in the sky, to see all five planets at once, start looking just before sunrise. The elusive planet will be very low, so find a place with a horizon free of tall buildings or trees (a beach would be a perfect option). And remember that viewing Neptune and Uranus requires at least a pair of binoculars. Learn more about this particular event and planetary alignments in general from our dedicated article.
June Solstice 2023
On June 21, 14:58 GMT (10:58 a.m. EDT), the solstice will take place. On this day, the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere will be tilted closest to the Sun and experience the longest day and the shortest night. This is called the summer solstice and, in astronomical terms, marks the first day of summer.
The opposite will occur in the Southern Hemisphere, which will be tilted the farthest away from the Sun. There, people will get to experience the shortest day and longest night of the year — the winter solstice, which brings the first day of winter.
By the way, do you know the difference between solstices and equinoxes? Take our quiz and test your knowledge!
Comets in June 2023
After comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), 2023 probably won't entertain us with any more bright comets visible to the naked eye. The next big cometary event is expected in October 2024. For now, here is the list of the best visible comets this month, which require special equipment to observe. You can use the Sky Tonight app to locate comets in the sky.
C/2020 V2 (ZTF), which disappeared from view in March, reappears in June, favoring the Southern Hemisphere. However, observers in the Northern Hemisphere should also be able to see it during the summer nights. During these months, it will pass through the constellations Cetus and Eridanus, maintaining a magnitude of about 9-10.
Another target for stargazers in the southern latitudes is C/2021 T4 (Lemmon). It's visible from May to September, reaching perihelion on July 31, 2023, and making its closest approach to the Earth 11 days earlier, on July 20. In June, the comet will have a magnitude of about 9, visible with binoculars from dark locations. Look for it from midnight to early morning.
A dimmer comet that currently has a magnitude of 11, 185P/Petriew, will pass closest to the Earth on June 21, 2023. One month later, on July 20, it will pass perihelion. The comet should be visible from mid-June to early August from central and southern latitudes, which have longer nights during this period.
Meteor showers in June 2023
There is only one notable meteor shower peak in June. It's the Daytime Arietids, the strongest daytime meteor shower of the year. It peaks on June 7, delivering up to 30 "shooting stars" per hour. Daytime Arietids’ meteors will be visible just before dawn, and seeing them is not the easiest task for an observer.
How to navigate the night sky?
The night sky can be confusing, it's true. To never mistake Mars for Betelgeuse again, get a mobile sky map like Star Walk 2 or Sky Tonight. Both work without an internet connection, so you can use them far away from light-polluted cities. All you need to do is download an app and point your device at the sky — your screen will turn into an interactive map of the sky. You’ll also benefit from stargazing calendars that include all of the events listed above and more.
A large planetary alignment, a daytime meteor shower, glowing Venus, and other fascinating events await stargazers this June. Get the Star Walk 2 or Sky Tonight apps to easily navigate the night sky and get ready to explore the vastness of space!