Skywatch: Look for Planets and the Earliest Sunrises of the Year

Skywatch: Look for Planets and the Earliest Sunrises of the Year

If you’re out early in the week in the evening Venus will be easy to find. It’ll look like a bright star a little above the horizon in the west after sunset. If you wait until it’s completely dark you can find it in tandem with the two brightest stars in the constellation of Gemini. The twins Castor and Pollux can be found with Venus on Sunday and Monday evenings.

The sky will look a little darker this week thanks to the fact that the New Moon arrives at 3:43 P.M. on Wednesday afternoon. The New Moon and the sun are in the sky at the same time so sadly you won’t be able to see it. Here’s a fun fact about this moon: the lunar perigee, or when the Moon is closest to Earth, takes place just over a day after the new moon. That makes this a supermoon!

By definition a supermoon is “a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.” Again, you won’t be able to see it but as you enjoy a night sky with less light pollution know that we have a supermoon in the sky that's only 223,385 miles away.

Early risers have likely noticed the sun has been coming up earlier and earlier as of late. This week will see the earliest sunrises of the year even though the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, is still about a week off. The reason for that is because we actually have a little more than 24 hours of daylight this time of year. According to our earliest sunrise will occur on Wednesday when the day officially starts at 36 seconds after 6:02 A.M.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings you can use the young waxing crescent moon to once again find Venus. But by this time in the week Mercury will start to peek up over the horizon. Above is how the three will appear on Friday night. Venus will shine like a bright star in the western sky after sunset and Mercury can be found low in the horizon below and right of it. You’ll need to have a good view of the horizon if you want to catch the entire show. Happy Hunting!

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