Evening Lights

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Evening Lights

There’s a nice lineup in the western evening sky right now, like three airplanes queuing up for landing. And the line will get tighter over the coming evenings before the bright lights diverge, headed for different gates.

The brightest of the three lights is Venus. It’s the brilliant “evening star” — the brightest light in the night sky other than the Moon. And the airplane analogy is an apt one. It really does look like an approaching airliner with its landing lights turned on. But if you keep an eye on it for a minute or two, you’ll see that it doesn’t change position — it stays with all the other lights around it.

Mars stands to the upper left of Venus. It’s the faintest of the three lights. Even so, it looks like a modestly bright orange star. And its proximity to Venus will help it stand out.

The final member of the lineup is Regulus, to the upper left of Mars. The star marks the heart of Leo, the lion. It’s a little brighter than Mars, but no match for Venus.

Watch over the coming nights as Venus and Mars slide toward Regulus, which is dropping lower in the sky day by day. A week from now, Mars and Regulus will stand side by side, almost touching. Venus will be close by, but it won’t quite reach either of the other lights. After July 10th, Mars will pull away from Regulus, while Venus drops away. It will disappear from view by about the end of the month — ending a beautiful lineup in the evening sky.

Script by Damond Benningfield

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