Moon, Venus, and Jupiter

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Moon, Venus, and Jupiter

One of the most beautiful astronomical conjunctions you’ll ever see decorates the dawn sky tomorrow. The Moon will team up with the planets Venus and Jupiter, the second- and third-brightest objects in the night sky. All three will remain visible for a good while as twilight begins to paint the sky. And two of the three will stay visible even during full daylight.

The Moon is fairly easy to spot, even though it’s only a thin crescent. At sunrise, it’ll stand about 40 degrees to the upper right of the Sun — four times the width of your fist held at arm’s length. Against the bright blue of the daytime sky, it looks pale and washed out — a mere shadow of its nighttime appearance. So you have to search for it to see it.

The same thing applies to Venus. Before daylight, it’s the brilliant “morning star.” It’s so bright that people often mistake it for an airplane, or report it as a UFO. During the day, though, it doesn’t stand out at all — you have to work to pluck it from the glare. At sunrise, it’ll be a little to the upper right of the Moon. Once you lock in, though, you’ll probably wonder why it took so long to find it.

And if you have binoculars, you can even catch nearby Jupiter shining faintly against the blue background.

Venus and Jupiter are moving closer together, and will appear to almost touch each other in a few days — especially pleasing before the Sun floods the sky with the light of another day.

Script by Damond Benningfield

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