Fri., August 13 5:47 7:44
Sat., August 14 5:48 7:43
Sun., August 15 5:49 7:41
Mon., August 16 5:50 7:40
Tues., August 17 5:51 7:38
Wed., August 18 5:52 7:37
Thurs., August 19 5:53 7:36
Fri., August 20 5:54 7:34
Tonight’s thin crescent moon appears low in the southwestern sky. Look to the right of the moon and you’ll see the brilliant planet Venus, accompanied by two fainter planets, Mars and Saturn.
The assembly of planets and the moon are in the zodiacal constellation Virgo.
Mars is above Venus and only slightly to the viewer’s left. Its reddish color might make it easier to spot. Saturn is to the right of both Venus and Mars. The three planets form an elongated triangle with Saturn being farthest. Be patient, we looked at the planets this week and noticed that the sky has to darken considerably before the two planets are markedly visible. Venus is substantially brighter, easiest to see.
The gathering is an interesting sight, when the viewer also thinks about the distances of these celestial objects. Venus is the closest planet at 70 million miles away. Mars is 186 million miles away. Saturn is the farthest, at over 930 million miles away.
The Moon is our nearest neighbor, at only 238,000 miles.
Jupiter rises at 10 p.m. and is in the zodiacal constellation Pisces. Jupiter is a lot easier to see, high in the eastern sky after midnight.