The brilliant planet Venus will shine near Uranus before sunrise early Sunday (June 12), acting as a bright signpost for stargazers hoping to spot the more distant (and dim) gas giant in the night sky.
Venus is currently visible in the morning sky before dawn and can be found low in the eastern sky. The planet Uranus is not visible to the unaided eye, but can be spotted with binoculars or a telescope. It can be found to the upper left of Venus.
Uranus is about a thumb’s width away from Venus, according to Chris Vaughan, a geophysicist and amateur astronomer with SkySafari Software who oversees Space.com’s Night Sky calendar.
Related: The brightest planets in June’s night sky and how to see them
Early Saturday (June 11), Venus overtook Uranus in the sky and the two planets were actually slightly closer than they will be on Sunday, appearing just 1.7 degrees apart. (Your closed fist held out at arm’s length covers about 10 degrees of the night sky.)
“The two planets will be close enough to share the view in the eyepiece of a backyard telescope (inset), but bright, white Venus will outshine blue-green Uranus by a factor of 8,000 times, making the fainter planet difficult to see against the glare,” Vaughan wrote of Venus and Uranus this weekend.
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Eagle-eyed stargazers who spot Uranus will see the planet as a blue-green object, according to StarDate.org.
“That’s the result of methane in its upper atmosphere,” StarDate’s Damond Benningfield wrote in a guide (opens in new tab). “It absorbs red light, allowing only bluer wavelengths to reflect out into space.”
After Sunday, Venus and Uranus will move farther apart, with Venus moving more and more to the lower left, according to Benningfield.
If you miss Venus and Uranus together in the night sky, there’s more amazing planet sights in June. All five of the brightest planets can be seen in the early morning sky.
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can be seen in a rare 5-planet alignment all month long. On Friday (June 10), Mercury joined the show and on June 23 the moon will also line up with the five planets, making it a must-see morning sky event.
The full moon will also star in its own event next week. On Tuesday (June 14), the Full Strawberry Moon of June will shine bright and also mark the second supermoon of 2022. You can watch the Strawberry supermoon online free Tuesday afternoon.
Editor’s Note: If you snap a photo of the planetary alignment and would like to share it with Space.com’s readers, send your photo(s), comments, and your name and location to firstname.lastname@example.org.