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Sky Report

This is the monthly Griffith Observatory Sky Report.

A telescope at the Griffith Observatory.

This is the Griffith Observatory Sky Report through the period ending June 30, 2021. Here are the events happening in the sky of southern California.

Mercury is in the early evening sky. On the 1st, the sun sets at 8:00 p.m., while Mercury sets at 8:54 p.m. Within a week, Mercury passes close to the sun and is unobservable until the last week of June. On the 30th, Mercury rises in the morning sky at 4:31 a.m., and the sun rises at 5:45 a.m. Never observe Mercury when the sun is in the sky, for the risk of damage to the eyes is great.

Venus is in the evening sky. On the 1st, the sun sets at 8:00 p.m., and Venus sets at 9:22 p.m. On the 30th, the sun sets at 8:09 p.m., and Venus sets at 9:48 p.m. Venus presents a wide gibbous phase and is small. Never observe Venus when the sun is in the sky, for the risk of damage to the eyes is great.

Copper-red Mars continues to recede from earth and shrinks slowly. The planet appears too small to reveal anything on its disk, even when viewed through a telescope. Mars starts the month about a third of the way above the western horizon. It sets at 11:04 p.m. on the 1st and at 10:10 p.m. on the 30th. On the 22nd and the 23rd, Mars will be in front of the large open star cluster M44, nicknamed the Beehive. The planet’s bright orange light will contrast with the white stars of the cluster. Binoculars will be needed to see the cluster.

Jupiter rises in the east at 12:57 a.m. on the 1st and at 11:04 p.m. on the 30th. A telescope will reveal features on the disk and the four Galilean moons, which travel in a rough line east to west around Jupiter.

Saturn rises in the east at 12:02 a.m. on the 1st and at 10:04 p.m. on the 30th. A telescope will reveal Saturn’s disk, its rings, and perhaps its brightest and largest moon, Titan.

The last quarter moon occurs on the 2nd, new moon on the 10th, first quarter on the 17th, and full moon on the 24th.

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