Venus and the beehive! Together on the 12th and 13th of June

Venus and the beehive

On the evenings of June 12 and 13, 2023, you can spot Venus — the brightest planet — passing by a famous star cluster known as the Beehive. Nearby Venus will appear as a large, bright diamond running through dozens of smaller diamonds farther away in this star cluster. On both evenings, Venus is about 1 degree — or two full moons in tandem — from the beehive.

First, look for bright Venus in the west after sunset. At magnitude -4.2, the early evening sky is easily dominated by Venus. You may also notice two bright stars in the sky that are lower than Venus. They are the shining stars in Gemini, Pollux, and Castor.

Above Venus and the twin stars a bright reddish light … And this is Mars.

Then, if you’re in a dark sky location or have binoculars, you can spot a speck of light on the sky’s dome near Venus. This little star is the Beehive star cluster, in the constellation of Cancer the Crab.

In late May and early June — around June 1 and 2, 2023 — Mars was a delightfully bright light among the faint Beehive cluster. And now it’s the turn of the wonderful planet Venus. Venus will be a beacon among the cluster’s fainter stars.

Unless the sky is very dark, you’ll need binoculars to catch the stars of the cluster. The hive will be easy to spot if you place Venus outside your field of vision.

Telescopes will reveal more than 1,000 members of the beehive group.

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Bright Venus — the brightest planet in our sky — will take on the role of Queen Bee when it passes by the Beehive constellation on June 12 and 13, 2023. Look west shortly after dark for Venus and the Beehive as they make for an interesting and beautiful sight. Graph by John Jardine Goss / EarthSky.

Closer look at the beehive star cluster

With the help of a visual, the true nature of this star cluster comes to life.

The stars in this cluster are located about 577 light-years away. This is in contrast to Venus, which is only light minutes away.

And when you look at the beehive – think of how many planets there might be among those 1,000 stars. We already know of at least two (Pr0201b and Pr0211b).

Do you have a photo to share? Submit it in the EarthSky community photos. We sure enjoy seeing them.

A circle with two white dots inside it indicating the dates next to the cluster.  The arrow shows the movement of the flower.
Binoculars will help you show the Beehive around June 12th and 13th, 2023, with Venus to one side. Graph by John Jardine Goss / EarthSky.

Pictures of Mars Society buzzing with a beehive

Earlier this month, Mars passed in front of the Beehive star cluster. Here are some of the photos that have been submitted to the EarthSky community photos.

A starry sky with a group of dozens of stars is relatively close together with the glowing reddish planet Mars nearby.
View in EarthSky community photos. | David Hoskin of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, captured this image on May 31, 2023, and wrote: “This image shows Mars approaching the Beehive Cluster, an open star cluster in the constellation of Cancer.” Thank you, David.
The black sky, the constellations of Cancer, Venus, Gemini, and a circle around the beehive and Mars.
View in EarthSky community photos. | EarthSky’s Raul Cortés of Monterrey, Mexico made this composite of two images. Raoul wrote: “On June 1, 2023, Mars was in Cancer near the Beehive and Venus. A wonderful sight!” Thanks Raoul.

More images of Mars buzzing with a beehive

Faint stars scattered on a black sky with a red dot of Mars.
View in EarthSky community photos. | Meiying Lee of Hsinchu, Taiwan, captured this image on June 2, 2023. Meiying wrote: “On June 2, Mars entered Praesepe, also known as the Beehive Cluster, with the designation Messier M44. Praesepe is an open star cluster composed of many young stars.” “. Thank you Mi Ying!
Small white dots for the Beehive, Mars, Venus, and two stars, and long red dotted lines for the International Space Station.
View in EarthSky community photos. | Mohammed Adil In Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, this photo was taken on June 2, 2023. Muhammad wrote: “It’s been a while since the International Space Station appeared in the sky, and tonight I had the chance to capture it in some interesting conjunctions. Venus was at its most westerly elongation. And brilliant was lined up with the twins (Pollux and Castor) in a straight line, while Mars was almost above the Beehive cluster. Having the International Space Station in the frame was too much of a crowded sky to capture.” Thank you Mohamed!

Bottom line: Spot Venus and the Beehive star cluster together on June 12 and 13, 2023. You’ll want to have good-view binoculars for the starry cluster that makes a sparkling accent for dazzling Venus.

Want to see more night sky events? Visit EarthSky’s night sky guide

Our charts are mostly set for the Northern Hemisphere. To see an accurate view of your location, try Stellarium Online.

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