Fri., Feb. 15 6:37 5:14
Sat., Feb. 16 6:36 5:15
Sun., Feb. 17 6:34 5:17
Mon., Feb. 18 6:33 5:18
Tues., Feb. 19 6:32 5:19
Wed., Feb. 20 6:30 5:20
Thurs., Feb. 21 6:29 5:22
Fri., Feb. 22 6:27 5:23
While Wednesday night’s lunar eclipse will dominate the news in the coming week, observers also will have the rare opportunity throughout the week to view five planets in the evening and early morning sky.
The red planet Mars is now high in the sky after sunset. Mars has lost some of its brilliance but it is still the brightest red planet in the constellation Taurus. Mars is near the zenith at about 11 p.m.
The ringed-planet Saturn rises in the eastern sky as the sun sets. Saturn is in opposition, closer to the Earth than at any other time in the past year. Saturn is 772 million miles away and its rings are easy to see even through a low powered telescope. It takes Saturn two years to move through one constellation.
The two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, are low in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Venus is the brighter of the two and closer to the horizon.
Jupiter is in Sagittarius, the southernmost constellation in the zodiac. It takes Jupiter one year to move through a constellation.
Venus is easy to spot just before sunrise. For those with a keen view of the eastern skyline, take a look at Venus in the mornings ahead and you may be able to see the most elusive Mercury. The two are only three degrees apart this week. Mercury is nowhere near as bright as Venus. Of all the visible planets Mercury is the most difficult to spot, because it is always close to the horizon.