It’s a commonly asked question. As the Moon makes its regular orbital journey around the sky, it sometimes appears close to a particularly bright “star”.
Often these stars are not stars at all but planets. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can all appear close to the Moon. That is because their orbits around the Sun are on a similar plane to the Moon’s around the Earth.
These planets also appear much brighter than most stars. Apart from the planets, a handful of first-magnitude stars – some of the brightest in the sky – also lie along the path travelled by the Moon, and so you might spot one close to it.
Occasionally, the Moon will actually pass in front of and hide a star or planet. Such an event is known as an occultation.
Here is a list of dates when the Moon may be seen close to a bright planet or star.
May 24: Mercury and Venus
May 26: Pollux
May 29: Regulus
June 1: Spica
June 5: Antares
June 9: Jupiter and Saturn
June 13: Mars
June 25: Regulus
June 29: Spica
July 2: Antares
July 6: Jupiter and Saturn
July 12: Mars
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