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Moon, Jupiter, Spica late night till dawn

Unless you’re a night owl, you might be better off viewing the moon, Jupiter and Spica before sunrise tomorrow (January 19, 2016). Depending on where you live worldwide, the glorious threesome – the moon, Jupiter and Spica – won’t climb up over the eastern horizon until very late this evening or after midnight. Click here to find out when the moon, the planet Jupiter and the star Spica rise tonight.

The feature chart above shows the moon, Jupiter and Spica as they appear after midnight at mid-northern North American latitudes. But no matter where you reside around the world, look first for the moon. The dazzling “star” nearby the moon is actually the king planet Jupiter, and the star in Jupiter’s vicinity is Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo.

The moon swings by the planet Jupiter and the star Spica over the next several days. The green line depicts the ecliptic.

The moon swings by the planet Jupiter and the star Spica over the next several days. The green line depicts the ecliptic.

But there’s a lot more in store than just the moon and Jupiter tonight. All five bright planets that are visible to the unaided eye grace these January 2017 nights.

Two shine as soon as darkness falls: Venus and Mars. See the chart below.

Don't forget to view the planets Venus and Mars in the western evening sky as soon as darkness falls.

Don’t forget to view the planets Venus and Mars in the western evening sky as soon as darkness falls.

Three beautify the predawn/dawn sky: Jupiter, Saturn and Mercury. In fact, you can use the moon and Jupiter as your guide to Saturn and Mercury. Click here to find out when Saturn and Mercury rise into your sky.

In the predawn/dawn sky on January 19, use the moon to locate Jupiter. An imaginary line from Jupiter through Saturn may help you find Mercury near the horizon.

In the predawn/dawn sky on January 19, use the moon to locate Jupiter. An imaginary line from Jupiter through Saturn may help you find Mercury near the horizon.

All five planets are out for part of the night tonight. Venus and Mars shine in the west from nightfall till mid-evening whereas Saturn and Mercury preside in the eastern predawn/dawn sky. Read more about the morning planets on yesterday’s January 17 Tonight.

Tonight – on the night of January 17-18 – watch for the moon and Jupiter as they light up the nighttime sky from around midnight till dawn.

Bruce McClure

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