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Venus rises before dawn; moon and Mercury at dawn March 29

Venus rises before dawn; moon and Mercury at dawn March 29 Read more

Tonight for March 28, 2014

For most of the world, the dazzling planet Venus rises in the east before dawn on March 29, except at extreme northerly latitudes (such as in Anchorage, Alaska). That far north Venus rises at dawn. In short, the farther south you live, the sooner that Venus rises before sunrise, and the farther north you live, the closer that Venus and the sun rise together.

At northerly latitudes, it'll be difficult, if not impossible, to see the moon and Mercury in the glare of morning twilight on Saturday, March 29.

At northerly latitudes, it’ll be difficult, if not impossible, to see the moon and Mercury in the glare of morning twilight on Saturday, March 29.

Meanwhile, at southerly latitudes, where the ecliptic - the pathway of planets - is more steeply inclined to the morning horizon, the moon and Mercury will be much easier to spot.

Meanwhile, at southerly latitudes, where the ecliptic – the pathway of planets – is more steeply inclined to the morning horizon, the moon and Mercury will be much easier to spot.

Given clear skies, everyone around the world has a good chance of catching Venus in the morning sky on March 29. After all, Venus is the third-brightest celestial body to light up the heavens, after the sun and moon. In fact, Venus will remain a fixture of the morning sky until October 2014.

What is the ecliptic?

However, to spot the moon and Mercury in the east before sunrise in late March 2014, you’ll have to reside in the southern portions of the globe. The Southern Hemisphere and the tropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere are in the best position to spot the thin waning crescent moon and the planet Mercury as darkness gives way to dawn on March 29.

Rising times for the moon and morning planets in your sky

From temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, the very slender waning crescent moon and Mercury actually rise before dawn’s first light. From southerly latitudes, you might even see the “new moon in the old moon’s arms,” or earthshine lighting up the nighttime side of the moon. Binoculars enhance the view of earthshine.

When can you see earthshine on a crescent moon?

Given clear skies tomorrow morning, everyone worldwide has a good chance of catching Venus before sunrise on March 29, but only southerly latitudes are likely to catch the thin waning crescent moon and Mercury, the solar system’s innermost planet.

View larger Jv Noriega saw the planet Mercury from the northern tropics (Minala, Philippines) before sunrise on March 29, 2014. Thank you Jv Noriega!

View larger Jv Noriega saw the planet Mercury from the northern tropics (Minala, Philippines) before sunrise on March 29, 2014. Thank you Jv Noriega!