Tour June’s Sky: Three Planets at Nightfall

Sky & Telescope's astronomy podcast takes you on a guided tour of the night sky. After the Sun sinks from view, enjoy watching Mars and Saturn near Scorpius in the southeast and Jupiter near Leo well up in the southwest.

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, June is a minimalist month for stargazing because nights are so short. The solstice, when daylight is longest, comes on the 20th at 6:34 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

Planet-wise, most all the action occurs in the evening sky. After sunset you’ll find Jupiter dominating the southwest part of the sky, about halfway up, while over in the east peachy-colored Mars is an unmistakable beacon. Mars and Jupiter appear almost equally bright. Saturn is lower left of Mars by about twice the width of your fist at arm’s length. It has a creamy-white color and is only about a fifth as bright as Mars.

Mars and Saturn are featured in June's astronomy podcast

Brilliant Mars and bright Saturn frame the head of Scorpius on June evenings.
Sky & Telescope diagram

In between Mars and Saturn lies the head of Scorpius and its reddish heart, Antares. This star’s name quite literally means “anti-Ares,” Ares being the name for Mars in Greek mythology. The ancients saw Antares and Mars as rivals for attention.

Compare the brightness of Saturn with that of the bright star Arcturus, about three fists above Spica, almost overhead at nightfall. They’re almost equal right now, though Saturn might look dimmer when near the horizon because its light has to pass through more atmosphere to reach you.

To get a personally guided tour of these night-sky sights and others overhead during June, download our 5½-minute-long astronomy podcast below.


There's no better guide to what's going on in nighttime sky than SkyWatch 2016, a yearlong guide prepared by the editors of Sky & Telescope magazine.

One thought on “Tour June’s Sky: Three Planets at Nightfall

  1. AlphaCentauriAlphaCentauri

    If the skies will ever clear up here in WV I’ll get outside and look at Saturn. I’ve had my 130 Astromaster on Mars,but haven’t had a good night to look at Saturn. I haven’t had the scope for very long, and it’s been 20 years since I’ve had a telescope .I’ve got some really good views of Jupiter, and some looks at Mercury back in April. I’m looking forward to some good, but short nights out under the stars this summer.

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