Venus, Castor and Pollux line up on August 10
Venus lines up with Castor and Pollux on August 10
On the morning of August 10, 2022, look east before sunrise to see the brightest planet, Venus. It rises about 90 minutes before the sun. Then look for the two brightest stars in the constellation of Gemini, Castor and Pollux, to the north (or left) of Venus. Gemini’s twin stars and Venus will appear to make a diagonal line on our sky’s dome.
Pollux is a 1st-magnitude star and one of the brightest stars in our sky. Castor is slightly fainter, but also bright, the brightest of all 2nd-magnitude stars. Yet both stars pale next to Venus, which outshines them by a hundredfold, shining that morning at -3.9 magnitude.
By the way, you’ll probably be able to follow Venus for about 10 to 15 minutes after morning twilight. However, Castor and Pollux will fade away as the sky brightens before sunrise.
Winter constellations returning to the morning sky
Day by day, Venus is sinking closer to the rising sun until it reaches superior conjunction on October 22, 2022. Venus will reappear in our evening sky in December 2022. But Castor and Pollux are rising higher each day in the morning sky. In fact, stars rise four minutes earlier each day, or two hours earlier each month. And so in August, you’ll notice Gemini – and other winter constellations – are returning to our morning skies. Certainly, you’ll easily spot mighty Orion higher in the morning sky.
Venus is a planet, and the word planet comes from an ancient word meaning wanderer. Because planets are much closer to us than the stars, their positions relative to the stars varies. So depending on their distance from Earth, you’ll notice them move across the background stars over a period of days or weeks.
Bottom line: On the morning of August 10, 2022, notice our brightest planet, Venus, forming a line with the two bright Gemini stars, Castor and Pollux.