Fri., May 7 5:31 7:45
Sat., May 8 5:30 7:46
Sun., May 9 5:28 7:47
Mon., May 10 5:27 7:48
Tues., May 11 5:26 7:49
Wed., May 12 5:25 7:50
Thurs., May 13 5:24 7:51
Fri., May 14 5:23 7:53
There are three evening planets out tonight. The brilliant planet Venus hangs high in the western sky at dusk and the ringed-planet Saturn appears high in the east.
The red planet Mars is saddled between the two planets. After twilight Mars is overhead, in the zodiacal constellation Leo. In different parts of the sky, all three planets are unusually different.
Venus is closer to the sun than Earth and slightly smaller. Throughout recorded history and a lot longer than that, Venus has been shrouded by clouds. With blanket coverage, Venus reflects sunlight well which is why it glows so bright. Venus is 130 million miles away.
Mars is about the same distance from the Earth as Venus this month, and nowhere near as bright. Mars is smaller than Venus, but what hinders its ability to shine like Venus is that it has no cloudy atmosphere. The planet’s brightness and its color come from its terrain.
Saturn, rising in the east, and in the zodiacal constellation Virgo, is the farthest planet you can see tonight. Saturn is 809 million mile, about 9 times farther away from Earth than the sun.
Moon and Jupiter
A thin crescent moon appears near the planet Jupiter at dawn Sunday morning. You’ve got to rise early to see the two.