• Full moon rises over Lucy Vincent Beach last week.
  • Timothy Johnson

Dance of Two Planets

Venus has staged a comeback. The brightest planet in our night skies appears low in the southwestern sky, close to the horizon, just after sunset. Last year Venus was mostly a morning planet.

Jupiter is higher in the western sky, visible at twilight and easier to see. But soon the two planets will change places.

In the weeks ahead Jupiter and Venus will appear closer together in the western sky. By the end of May they will be side by side. Since they are the brightest visible planets, the changing positions will be hard to miss.

At 148 million miles away, Venus is the earth’s nearest planet. Like Venus, Jupiter is quite bright but considerably farther away. Astronomers estimate that Jupiter is 539 million miles away. Jupiter’s large size accounts for its equal brilliance; it is the largest planet in our solar system. You could put 1,300 earths into Jupiter and still have some room to move. Venus, on the other hand, is only slightly smaller than the Earth.



The ringed planet Saturn is in optimum position for springtime viewing. Saturn was closest to the Earth on April 28.

Look for Saturn rising in the east shortly after sunset. It is high in the south at midnight and setting in the west at about sunrise.


Sunrise and Sunset
Fri., May 35:367:41
Sat., May 45:347:42
Sun., May 55:337:43
Mon., May 65:327:44
Tues., May 75:317:45
Wed., May 85:307:46
Thurs., May 95:287:47
Fri., May 105:277:48

Temperatures and Precipitations
DayMax (Fº)Min (Fº)Inches
April 2659360.07
April 275835T
April 2859360.00
April 2962420.00
April 3063350.00
May 163400.00
May 260380.00

Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 58º F.



You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.


Subscribe or become a Friend of the Vineyard Gazette and receive our free newsletters and free and discounted tickets to Gazette events along with our award-winning news and photography.