Venus has staged a comeback. The brightest planet in our night skies appears low in the southwestern sky, close to the horizon, just after sunset. Last year Venus was mostly a morning planet.
Jupiter is higher in the western sky, visible at twilight and easier to see. But soon the two planets will change places.
In the weeks ahead Jupiter and Venus will appear closer together in the western sky. By the end of May they will be side by side. Since they are the brightest visible planets, the changing positions will be hard to miss.
At 148 million miles away, Venus is the earth’s nearest planet. Like Venus, Jupiter is quite bright but considerably farther away. Astronomers estimate that Jupiter is 539 million miles away. Jupiter’s large size accounts for its equal brilliance; it is the largest planet in our solar system. You could put 1,300 earths into Jupiter and still have some room to move. Venus, on the other hand, is only slightly smaller than the Earth.
The ringed planet Saturn is in optimum position for springtime viewing. Saturn was closest to the Earth on April 28.
Look for Saturn rising in the east shortly after sunset. It is high in the south at midnight and setting in the west at about sunrise.
|Fri., May 3||5:36||7:41|
|Sat., May 4||5:34||7:42|
|Sun., May 5||5:33||7:43|
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|Thurs., May 9||5:28||7:47|
|Fri., May 10||5:27||7:48|
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Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 58º F.