Tuesday June 18th at around midnight local time the just past full Moon will be rising over the eastern horizon near the ringed planet Saturn. The two will be separated by about 0.5o and will fit nicely within the field of view of binoculars or the eyepiece of a telescope..
Monday evening June 17th the ‘Red Planet’ Mars and the innermost planet Mercury will be at a fairly close conjunction, separated by only about 0.5o. The two planets will be about 5-6o from Pollux, one of the stars of the Gemini Twins. Both planets will nicely fit within the field of view of binoculars or a wide field eyepiece on a telescope.
Over the next several evenings (June 14th through the 16th) the Moon, as it waxes through its gibbous phase, will pass by the Dwarf Planet Ceres and the outer giant planet Jupiter. The Moon will be about 5-6o from Ceres as it passes from the west side to the east side of the Dwarf Planet. Then it will be about 5-6o from Jupiter as it moves from the west side to the east side of the Jupiter.
Sunday morning June 9th the inner planet Venus will be a few degrees from the open star cluster known as the Pleiades. Both Venus and the Pleiades rise about an hour before sunrise local time and both will fit within the field of view of binoculars.
Friday June 8th the 5.60-day old waxing crescent Moon will be within about 2o from Regulus, the star marking the heart of Leo the Lion. Both will be visible high over the southern horizon at sunset local time.
Our Moon reaches perigee, (closest distance to Earth), for this orbit, on Monday May 13th. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 28.89 Earth diameters, 228,977 miles (368,504 km) from the Earth.
The 4.68-day old waxing crescent, Moon rises is over the southwestern horizon at sunset local time and sets around midnight. About 12o east from the Moon is the ‘Heart of the Lion’, the star Regulus in Leo the Lion. Between this time and and the same time tomorrow the Moon will have passed Regulus and be a few degrees away from the star, but on the east side.
Does our Moon actually go around the Earth as this graphic shows? From our perspective on the Earth the Moon appears to circle around the Earth. However, in reality, the Moon orbits the Sun together with the Earth*
*Click here to read my 2006 Scope on the Sky column “The Real Shape of the Moon’s Orbit”. (PDF)
Read this very informative article about the Earth-Moon system and their orbital motions, written by Joe Hanson. “Do We Orbit the Moon?”
Thursday evening June 6th the 3.70-day old waxing crescent Moon will be within about 4o from the open star cluster M-44, or more commonly known as the “Beehive Cluster”. Despite the crescent Moon’s apparent magnitude of -10.0 it should be possible to still see the Beehive Cluster dimly ‘glowing’ with its 3.50 apparent magnitude in the field of view of binoculars.