The Moon is closing in on the brilliant “morning star.” They’re far apart tomorrow, but will stand almost side by side on Tuesday. As a bonus, the heart of the lion joins them.
The morning star is Venus, the second planet from the Sun. Since Earth is the third planet, Venus has a limited range of motion across our sky. It’ll reach its farthest point from the Sun in a couple of weeks. That’ll give us several good hours to enjoy it before it’s overpowered by twilight.
Venus spends only half of its time in the morning sky. It spends the other half in the evening sky — an average of about nine and a half months in each phase. But it’s not in view for all of that time. It’s visible for about 263 days in the morning sky, then vanishes for about 50 days as it passes behind the Sun. It spends another 263 days in the evening sky, then disappears for about a week as it passes between Earth and the Sun.
Venus will remain in view in the morning sky through the rest of this year and well into 2024. It should disappear by early May, then return to view a couple of months later — as the evening star.
For now, look for Venus in the east at dawn. Regulus, the heart of the lion, is close by. The Moon will be high above them tomorrow, closer on Monday, and quite close on Tuesday. The Moon will slide away after that — heading toward another spectacular encounter, on Thursday. We’ll tell you more about that next week.
Script by Damond Benningfield