The early evening sky serves up a couple of nice matchups. One will disappear not long after the sky gets fully dark. But the other will stick around until after midnight.
The match-up that vanishes early consists of the planet Venus and the star Antares. Venus is the spectacular “evening star,” so you can’t miss it, even though it’s low in the sky as darkness falls. Antares — a true star — is to the left of Venus. It’s less than one percent as bright as Venus, but its pairing with the bright planet will help it stand out.
Venus and Antares will move a little closer together over the next couple of nights. They’ll be at their closest on Saturday, when Venus will pass over the top of Antares. After that, Venus will pull away, leaving the heart of the scorpion behind.
The other match-up is even easier to find. It’s the Moon and the planets Jupiter and Saturn — the giants of the solar system. Jupiter — the Sun’s biggest planet — stands to the upper left of the Moon, and is quite bright — only the Moon and Venus outshine it.
Saturn is a little farther to the upper right of the Moon. It’s not as bright as Jupiter, but still easy to find. All three bodies wheel low across the south during the night, and set after midnight, with Saturn leading the way.
The Moon will slide well to the east by tomorrow night, but will still form a nice grouping with the two bright planets. We’ll have more about that tomorrow.
Script by Damond Benningfield