Venus and Jupiter are still very close before dawn. Look east before the sun comes up. You’ll also find the bright star Aldebaran in that part of the sky, and two star clusters: the V-shaped Hyades and the tiny, misty dipper of the Pleiades or Seven Sisters. Venus is next up above the horizon, then Jupiter, and the Pleiades star cluster is above the two planets. Aldebaran, which is part of the V of the Hyades, will be below the Pleaides. In mid-July 2012, the waning crescent moon was back in this part of the sky, and we saw some beautiful sky scenes then. The moon will pass near Venus and Jupiter again around August 11 and 12, 2012 (peak mornings of the Perseid meteor shower). Wow! That’ll be a great ending to a night of meteor-watching!
The photos below are just a few of the wonderful shots of Venus and Jupiter we’re getting on EarthSky’s Facebook page. Enjoy these, and then go there to see more! Thank you to all who shared these great photos.
Bottom line: Venus and Jupiter – the two brightest planets – are near each other before dawn in late June and July of 2012. You can’t miss them if you look toward the east. In mid-July 2012, the moon will pass through this part of the sky. Great photo opportunity.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.