June 3, 2023

See the moon ‘jump’ over Uranus in the predawn sky this week

See the moon ‘jump’ over Uranus in the predawn sky this week
See the moon ‘jump’ over Uranus in the predawn sky this weekSee the moon ‘jump’ over Uranus in the predawn sky this week

Look to the eastern sky before dawn on Friday (June 24) and Saturday (June 25) and the moon will appear to have jumped over Uranus. 

On Friday “the old crescent will shine a generous palm’s width to the upper left (or 6.5 degrees to the celestial southwest) of the small, magnitude 5.8 speck of Uranus” writes Chris Vaughan, amateur astronomer with SkySafari Software who oversees Space.com’s Night Sky calendar.

“The following morning, the moon will hop east to sit 5 degrees to Uranus’ lower-left,” Vaughan writes. The duo will be close enough to share the view in a pair of binoculars. 

Related: The brightest planets in June’s night sky: How to see them (and when)

Observers in the Southern Hemisphere — specifically in western and northern Australia and eastern Indonesia — will see the moon occult Uranus before dawn on Saturday. 

The moon is currently embarking on a tour of the morning planets, its next port of call is Venus on June 26 then Mercury on June 27. 

The moon’s planetary “meet and greet” is not the only skywatching event to watch out for in the coming weeks. Throughout June, stargazers are being treated to a rare “planet parade” where all five naked-eye planets will be visible in the predawn sky as they line up in their orbital order from the sun. From left to right in the southeastern sky, you’ll be able to spot Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn all in a row.

Hoping to capture a good photo of the moon as it makes its way past the morning planets? Our guide on how to photograph the moon has some helpful tips. If you’re looking for a camera, here’s our overview of the best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography. As always, our guides for the best telescopes and best binoculars can help you prepare for the next great skywatching event.

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