Andromeda Galaxy by Dave Rowe (
Photo by Dave Rowe
June 2001 Skywatch
by Maya del Mar

Brilliant red Mars dominates the southern skies. Mars has been swelling in apparent size all year. In fact, the last time it was this big and bright was in 1988. I can’t help but wonder if its increasing size is related to the increasing speed and push of life. Mars will continue to brighten until it reaches opposition to the Sun on June 13. Sun conjoins Jupiter then, so astrologically this will be a grand opposition, with a great release of energy.

Mars rises about an hour after sunset in the southeastern sky. It is very close to red Antares, the famous "rival of Mars." However, Mars is now much brighter.

Venus is now a morning star. It rises in the morning sky about two hours before sunrise. Watch the eastern sky before dawn on June 17 for this month’s most spectacular view of the jewel of the heavens. Venus appears with the Pleiades to the left, and a waning crescent moon to the right.

Saturn will reappear from behind the Sun, rising before dawn in the east-northeast. On June 19 the tiny crescent moon will lie to its right.

And then we have the spectacle of the month, the total solar eclipse on June 21 visible in the middle and southern parts of Africa (see Yvonne Taylor's article this issue). As the sky darkens, Jupiter will be visible close to the totally-eclipsed sun. Jupiter means expansion, which will be a major consequence of this eclipse.