• Full moon rises over East Chop on Jan. 31.
  • Mark Alan Lovewell

In Vineyard Skies: Planets

There is only one planet in our early evening sky. The bright planet Venus is barely visible low in the southwestern sky after sunset. The planet’s close proximity to the sun is the significant hindrance. Viewing conditions are critically important to gain visibility. If you happen to watch a sunset from Menemsha or West Chop this week, you could see the planet a couple of minutes after sunset.

Most of us will see the planet in just a few weeks when it is higher and farther from the sun. Venus is going to be a spectacle high in the western sky as we get farther along into spring and summer. Summer will give us plenty of planets to look at in the evening sky. Right now Jupiter, Mars and Saturn are visible in the early morning sky.

For those outside early in the morning, there is an impressive lineup of planets in the southern sky. At around 5 a.m. Saturn is in the southeastern sky, above the horizon. Draw a line along the southern sky across the red planet Mars to the brightest planet in the morning sky, Jupiter.

It might be easier to just look for Jupiter first, as it is so much brighter, and then look east for the dull red Mars.

Saturn is in the zodiacal constellation Sagittarius. Mars is in Scorpius. Jupiter is in Libra. We associate all three constellations with summer.


Sunrise and Sunset
Day Sunrise Sunset
Fri., Feb. 2 6:53 4:58
Sat., Feb. 3 6:52 4:59
Sun., Feb. 4 6:51 5:00
Mon., Feb. 5 6:49 5:01
Tues., Feb. 6 6:48 5:03
Wed., Feb. 7 6:47 5:04
Thurs., Feb. 8 6:46 5:05
Fri., Feb. 9 6:45 5:07

Temperatures and Precipitation
Day Max (Fº) Min (Fº) Inches
Jan. 26 31 21 0.00
Jan. 27 37 22 0.00
Jan. 28 48 35 0.15
Jan. 29 48 37 0.19
Jan. 30 40 27 *0.20
Jan. 31 28 18 *0.04
Feb. 1 42 23 0.00


Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 39º F


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