Fri., Jan. 9 7:08 4:29
Sat., Jan. 10 7:08 4:30
Sun., Jan. 11 7:07 4:31
Mon., Jan. 12 7:07 4:32
Tues., Jan. 13 7:07 4:33
Wed., Jan. 14 7:06 4:35
Thurs., Jan. 15 7:06 4:35
Fri., Jan. 16 7:06 4:37
The bright planet in the western sky, Venus, will dominate the skies through the remainder of the winter. This weekend is an ideal time to enjoy our nearest planetary neighbor, in all of its glory.
Astronomers report Venus is as high as it gets. It is at its greatest apparent distance from the setting sun. They call it elongation, and Venus will be at its greatest elongation from the sun on Sunday night. You won’t find it any higher in the west than this weekend.
There is another good reason to take a good look at Venus soon after sunset; there are two other planets in the west. Venus forms a line with Jupiter and Mercury. Jupiter, the second brightest planet in our sky, appears just above the horizon after sunset. A short distance up from Jupiter and towards the brilliant Venus, there is Mercury. Mercury is quite faint compared to Jupiter and Venus.
This is a good time to look for Mercury, as the two brightest planets in our sky offer an aid. Mercury is considerably closer to Jupiter than Venus.
The planet Saturn appears to have lost its rings. Anyone with a low-powered telescope will have a tough time seeing the rings. The rings are lined up with the Earth and almost invisible. They are there and readily visible to a high-quality telescope with sufficient power.