Fri., June 1 5:09 8:09
Sat., June 2 5:09 8:10
Sun., June 3 5:08 8:10
Mon., June 4 5:08 8:11
Tues., June 5 5:08 8:12
Wed., June 6 5:07 8:12
Thurs., June 7 5:07 8:13
Fri., June 8 5:07 8:14
Venus, the wonderful bright planet that has been a presence in our western sky since winter, is gone. Venus appears so close to the sun now that it cannot be seen.
Venus is also close to the earth. In only a few days the planet will be directly between the sun and the earth. Astronomers report the planet is only 27 million miles away. After the moon, Venus is the closest celestial object in the sky. The sun is 93 million miles away. Mars was 62 million miles away in March.
Venus will align with the sun on Tuesday afternoon; the planet will then transit the sun. Only those with special solar telescopes will be able to safely watch this incredibly rare event. Much of the observing will take place from western United States to Africa. The complete event can be watched in places like Hawaii.
Here the transit starts shortly after 6 p.m.
Casual skywatchers are warned to not look directly at the sun, even late in the day, as serious eye injury can result.
Instead, be prepared to see Venus high in the eastern sky before sunrise later in June. A few days after transiting the sun, Venus will become our morning “star.”
The two evening planets are Mars and Saturn. Mars is high in the western sky after sunset and in the zodiacal constellation Leo. Saturn is rising in the east in the zodiacal constellation Virgo. Jupiter is an early morning planet, appearing low in the east before sunrise.