Planet Viewing in 2015

Mercury

The solar system's smallest planet flits back and forth from morning sky to evening sky several times a year. From the northern hemisphere, it is visible in the morning sky in June/July and October. In the evening, Mercury is best seen in April/May, August/September, and December.


Venus

Venus begins the year as the “evening star,” and maintains that post through mid-August. It will disappear from view for a few days at it passes between the Sun and Earth. It will return to view as the “morning star” by late August.


Mars

Mars is low in the western sky through the middle of April, when it disappears in the Sun’s glare. It will return to view in the morning sky by the middle of August and climb higher into the sky as the year progresses, growing gradually brighter as it does so.


Jupiter

The largest planet in our solar system and the second-brightest point of light in the night sky, is visible in the evening sky until August, when it passes behind the Sun as seen from Earth. It will return to view in the dawn sky in mid-September. Jupiter spends the entire year inside the borders of Leo, the lion.


Saturn

Golden Saturn is at its best in late May, when it is closest to Earth. It disappears behind the Sun in November, then returns to view in the morning sky by year’s end.


Uranus

Uranus is so remote that you need binoculars to see it. It begins the year in the southwestern sky at sunset, then disappears behind the Sun in March, after which it returns to view in the morning sky. Uranus stages its best appearance in mid-October.


Neptune

The fourth-largest planet in the solar system is so far away that you need a telescope to find it. Neptune stages its best appearance in late August and early September.


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©2015 The University of Texas McDonald Observatory