Fri., Jan. 16 7:06 4:37
Sat., Jan. 17 7:05 4:38
Sun., Jan. 18 7:05 4:39
Mon., Jan. 19 7:04 4:40
Tues., Jan. 20 7:03 4:41
Wed., Jan. 21 7:03 4:43
Thurs., Jan. 22 7:02 4:44
Fri., Jan. 23 7:01 4:45
Two planets that began the year low in the western sky at sunset are now gone, leaving Venus alone.
Jupiter hugged close to the western sky through most of the fall and into winter. Jupiter is now so close to the sun, it can’t be observed. Mercury is also amid the glare of the sun. Later this spring, Jupiter reappears as a morning planet.
Venus and Uranus
The brightest planet in our western sky after sunset is Venus. Venus is about as high as it gets this season and it hangs high in the west for hours before setting.
For those with keen vision and a pair of binoculars the week ahead offers a rare opportunity to see one of the solar system’s distant and faint planets, Uranus.
With binoculars, look at Venus next Wednesday and Thursday nights and you’ll also see the faint planet Uranus nearby. Uranus has a greenish blue hue and it is only a degree and a half away from Venus.
Astronomers tell us it is possible to see all stars down to the sixth magnitude without the help from optics. Uranus is a fifth magnitude planet so it is possible to see it in the night sky without a telescope. The difficulty is where to look and distinguishing it from other faint stars. With the help of Venus, next week Uranus is a viewable planet.