José Luis Ruiz Gómez in Almería, Spain submitted this photo to EarthSky this weekend. It’s the planet Saturn, now returning to the sky before dawn. You might have seen the other bright planets – especially Venus and Jupiter, and also Mars – in the morning sky. Saturn is there, too, much closer to the sunrise than the other planets. It’s still tough to spot, despite its brightness (around 0.5 magnitude now). You’ll probably want binoculars to scan for it low in the sky, shortly before the sky becomes too light to see it. Saturn will become more visible as the days pass. It’ll be rising about two hours before the sun by the month’s end.
Camera: Samsung Camera WB30F
Exposure: 16 sec.
Focal Distance: 134 mm
Original Size: 4608×3456 pixels
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Thank you, José!
Read more about the return of Saturn in EarthSky’s guide to the visible planets.
Remember … All five visible planets will appear together in the morning sky early next year – from about January 20 to February 20, 2016. That hasn’t happened since 2005.
Bottom line: The planet Saturn is returning to the eastern sky before dawn. It’s still near the sunrise, but will be rising some two hours before the sun by New Year’s.
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.