With an unobstructed horizon and a clear sky, you just might see the dazzling planet Venus coupling up with Regulus, brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion, around now. From mid-northern latitudes on the morning of September 5, 2014, look eastward about an hour before sunrise – below the brilliant planet Jupiter – to see the sky’s brightest planet, Venus, low in the sky.
Venus and Regulus will be harder to catch from the Southern Hemisphere. That’s because Venus and Regulus rise closer to sunrise, and sit lower in the glare of twilight, at more southerly latitudes. Have binoculars handy, if you have them!
Even from northerly latitudes, you might need binoculars to view Regulus in the vicinity of Venus, the brightest star-like point of light in the heavens. Venus shines some 125 times more brilliantly than Regulus, even though this 1st-magnitude star ranks as the 21st brightest star to light up the nighttime sky.
Bottom line: Look eastward below Jupiter, about an hour before sunrise to catch Venus and Regulus, Leo’s brightest star. Venus and this star will be closest on September 5. They are higher in the sky from the N. Hemisphere than from the S. Hemisphere. Use binoculars to scan for Regulus, if you don’t spot it near Venus.