Morning Planets

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Morning Planets

Almost all of the planetary action is in the morning sky now. Mercury is trying to climb into view in the evening sky, but it’s low and tough to see. It’ll be in slightly better view in a few days.

Three planets are in the morning sky. Two of them climb into view a good while before dawn, so there’s plenty of time to look for them. The third is just coming into view after passing behind the Sun. It’s quite bright, though, so it’s pretty easy to pick out.

As twilight begins to paint the morning, look half-way up the southeastern sky for Saturn, which looks like a bright golden star. Tomorrow, it’s far to the upper left of the Moon. But the Moon will soon catch up to it, and we’ll have more about that tomorrow.

Saturn is the second-largest planet in the solar system. But it’s best known for its beautiful rings. They’re made mainly of bits of ice, so they reflect a lot of sunlight. That enhances the planet’s brightness.

Next look for Mars, which is due east. It’s only about half as high as Saturn is, but it shines just as brightly. The dust that coats much of its surface gives Mars an orange tint, so it’s hard to miss.

Finally, as twilight brightens, look well to the lower left of Mars for Jupiter, the Sun’s largest planet. Although it’s low, it’s quite bright — only the Moon outshines it in the current night sky. So it’s easy to see deep into the waxing twilight — the dawn of a new day.

Script by Damond Benningfield

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