"Mars Brightens 100% in June, and; A Great Triangle of Stars Announces the Beginning of Summer"

Scheduled air date: 2003 Jun 09-15


In the morning skies of next week, the Waning Gibbous Moon appears to pass by the planet Mars—currently brightening as it grows closer to Earth.
(Shown about 45 minutes before sunrise on June 18th through 21st for mid-northern latitudes.)


Mars was in conjunction—on the far side of the Sun from Earth—on August 10th of last year, at a distance of 248 million miles from Earth.  Since then, Mars has been coming closer and closer to Earth, until, on August 27th of this year, it will be a mere 34.5 million miles away; the closest it has been in nearly 60,000 years!
(Shown from high above the Sun's North Pole. The orbits of Mercury and Venus are also shown for reference.)


The Summer Triangle—comprised of the bright stars Vega, Altair and Deneb—is prominent in the night sky throughout the Summer, and even into Autumn.  It currently appears above the eastern horizon after dark.

If you wish to view illustrations for other episodes, please see our Star Gazer Illustrated directory.


Illustrations on this page were created using TheSky Astronomy Software, an advanced desktop planetarium program designed for Windows.

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