Mars, Venus And A ‘Super Solstice Strawberry Moon’ Sparkle In Twilight: What You Can See In The Night Sky This Week
Each Monday I pick out the northern hemisphere’s celestial highlights (mid-northern latitudes) for the week ahead, but be sure to check my main feed for more in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy, eclipses and more.
What To Watch For In The Night Sky This Week: June 21-27, 2021
This week is all about the “Super Strawberry Moon.” The first, the biggest and the brightest full Moon this summer, it’s also the lowest-hanging so should be extra-impactful as it rises in the east on Thursday.
However, before that take a few nights to look for bright Venus in the west after sunset and also for Mars as its visits the Beehive Cluster; it will be directly in front of the starry sight on Wednesday, but do get eyes-on any night either side if it’s clear—stargazers have to take their chances!
Monday, June 21, 2021: Venus meets a ‘twin’
Look to the west after dark tonight and you’ll see Venus shining brightly about 5º from Pollux, one of the two bright stars in Gemini—the other being Castor.
You’ll have to be quick to see Venus before it sinks soon after sunset. Have look later this week to see Venus inch closer to Castor and form a straight line with the “twins.”
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Wednesday, June 23, 2021: Mars ‘in’ the Beehive Cluster
Low in the west-northwest night sky tonight after dark will be the beautiful sight of the red planet in amongst the 60-or-so visible stars of the Beehive Cluster—also called M44 and Praesepe (meaning “manger” in Latin).
A group of stars about 580 light years distant in the constellation of Cancer, the crab, from less-than-dark urban skies you’ll need a pair of binoculars to make them out behind Mars.
Thursday, June 24, 2021: ‘Super Strawberry Moon’
Dusk tonight is when to watch the fourth and final “supermoon” of 2021 appear in the east as a delicate orange orb. Although it’s officially full at 18:40 UTC, catch it at moonrise where you are by using a moon calculator; for London moonrise is at 9:38 p.m., for New York it’s 8:54 p.m. and for Los Angeles it’s 8:36 p.m.
Occurring about 20 minutes after sunset, the celestial mechanics are perfect this month for a super summer show. Be sure to wait about 10-20 minutes after the official moonrise time to see our satellite burst onto the scene.
Saturday, June 26, 2021: The Moon and Saturn
A waning “Super Strawberry Moon” will rise above the eastern horizon around midnight just 4° from Saturn in the constellation of Capricorn. Jupiter just beyond and rising slightly after, so you could be in for a late night to catch this one.
Constellation of the week: Corona Borealis
Have you ever seen the “Northern Crown?” Little-known yet absolutely gorgeous, Corona Borealis is a constellation of seven sparkling stars between Boötes and Hercules. It’s right above in June. A semi-circle crescent of stars, you’ll find it about equidistant from bright summer stars Vega in the northeast and orangey Arcturus above.