The Planets this Week

Mercury is hidden in the glare of the Sun.

Venus (magnitude –3.9) shines brightly in the east before and during dawn. Look for Pollux and Castor, much fainter, to its upper left. They form a gently curving arc with Venus that straightens out during the course of the week. The arc becomes a straight line on the morning of the 26th.

Earth, best visible in the daytime, is centered below you. Its disk is a remarkable 180° in apparent diameter, 20,000 times larger than Jupiter: the planet currently in second place in this regard. But local details usually complicate the limb, and perspective effects limit how much of the planet is visible at once. A telescope is not required.

Mars is hidden deep in the glow of sunrise.

Jupiter (magnitude –1.8, in Virgo) is very low in the west-southwest during twilight. Look for fainter Spica (magnitude +1.0) 5° left or lower left of it. Binoculars help.

Saturn (magnitude +0.4, in the legs of Ophiuchus) glows steadily in the south-southwest at nightfall. Antares, less bright, twinkles 12° to Saturn's lower right.

Uranus (magnitude 5.8, in Pisces) and Neptune (magnitude 7.9, in Aquarius) are in the southeastern sky in the early hours of the morning. 


All descriptions that relate to your horizon — including the words up, down, right, and left — are written for the world's mid-northern latitudes. Descriptions that also depend on longitude (mainly Moon positions) are for North America.

Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) is Universal Time (UT, UTC, or GMT) minus 4 hours.