Celestial Spectacles: The Moon "Kisses" Saturn on May 31 and Other Summer Sky Events to Watch - Science Label

Celestial Spectacles: The Moon "Kisses" Saturn on May 31 and Other Summer Sky Events to Watch


As we transition into the summer months, the night sky promises a series of captivating astronomical events. One of the highlights is the close approach of the Moon and Saturn on May 31, often described as a "kiss" between these celestial bodies. This article will guide you through this event and other significant skywatching opportunities to look forward to this summer.

May 31: The Moon "Kisses" Saturn

On the early morning of May 31, 2024, skywatchers will be treated to a stunning display as the waning crescent Moon aligns closely with Saturn. This event, visible just before dawn, will see the two celestial objects separated by merely 1.5 degrees, appearing almost to touch in the night sky. For those in the southern part of South America, this encounter will be even more dramatic, with the Moon passing in front of Saturn, creating a lunar occultation​ (NASA Science)​​ (In-The-Sky.org)​.

To catch this event, look towards the eastern horizon around 3:50 AM EDT. Saturn will be to the upper left of the Moon as they rise together. This close approach, known as a conjunction, provides an excellent opportunity for both naked-eye observations and binocular or telescope viewing​ (NASA Science)​.

June 2: Moon and Mars

Just a few days later, on June 2, early risers will have another celestial pairing to observe. The waning crescent Moon will appear close to Mars, separated by about 6 degrees in the morning sky. This conjunction will be visible in the constellation Pisces, offering a beautiful pre-dawn display​ (Star Walk)​.

Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower

May also brings one of the best meteor showers of the year, the Eta Aquariids. Peaking on the night of May 6, this shower originates from the debris left by Halley's Comet. Observers can expect up to 30 meteors per hour under optimal conditions. The meteors will appear to radiate from the constellation Aquarius, making for a spectacular show in the early morning hours​ (digitalcameraworld)​.

Full Flower Moon and Antares

On May 23, the full "Flower Moon" will rise alongside Antares, the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius. For those in the southeastern United States, this event will feature a lunar occultation of Antares, where the Moon passes in front of the star, briefly obscuring it from view. This occultation will be visible as the Moon rises, adding to the visual spectacle of the full Moon​ (High Point Scientific)​.

Other Notable Events

  • May 9: Mercury at greatest elongation west, offering an excellent chance to observe the elusive planet just before sunrise.
  • June 4: A close conjunction of Jupiter and Mercury in the morning sky, providing a unique viewing opportunity.
  • June 20: The June solstice marks the start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere. This day will feature the longest daylight hours of the year for northern observers​ (Star Walk)​.


This summer promises a series of extraordinary celestial events, from planetary conjunctions to meteor showers and lunar occultations. Whether you're an avid astronomer or a casual stargazer, these events offer a chance to connect with the wonders of the universe. Be sure to mark your calendar and enjoy the cosmic spectacles that the night sky has to offer.


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