Tomorrow before sunrise – May 21, 2017 – and for the next few mornings, get up early and look east. From around the world, you’ll easily see the waning crescent moon and planet Venus. The planet Mercury is also up before dawn now, less easy to see, closer to the sunrise, but still possible for much of the world, for those with clear skies all the way to the eastern horizon at dawn.
The moon will sweep two degrees south of Venus on the morning of May 22. They’ll be a fine sight in the dawn that morning. Don’t miss them!
Mercury, of course, isn’t as bright as Venus and the moon. The toughest views of Mercury before dawn will be at far-northern latitudes. If that’s you, try using binoculars to sweep for Mercury near the sunrise horizon.
All three of these objects – the moon, Venus and Mercury – are glorious from Earth’s Southern Hemisphere now.
Both Venus and Mercury will remain in the early morning sky through early June, and Venus will remain visible at dawn throughout June and for some months to come. It’ll only be as 2017 comes to a close that Venus sinks back into the sun’s glare. Venus is the brightest planet and it’s lovely in the breaking dawn. Enjoy it on these early mornings!
Bottom line: Watch for the moon, Venus and Mercury on the mornings of May 21, 22 and 23, 2017.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded 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.