2021-01-10 07:00:29 –
Since summer, the very bright planet Venus has held courtrooms in the morning sky, and Jupiter and Saturn have headlined in evening heaven. But all the good things come to an end. All three planets will gradually hide this month, but before that, they’re running a great final fuss!
In the early morning twilight, look for a very bright glowing Venus shining in the very low southeastern sky barely above the horizon. It rises above the horizon about an hour before sunrise. Expect the sky to clear up on Monday morning as a very thin crescent is parked just to the right of Venus. It should be a pretty sight. Not only can you see the faint crescent moon, but the rest of the lunar disk is immersed in a pale greyish light. Pretty dimming is called planetshine because that’s exactly what it is. The crescent moon of the moon is caused by direct sunlight, but the rest of the disc is illuminated by the sunlight bouncing from the earth to the moon. Think of it as second-hand sunshine!
You can also see that Venus appears to be twinkling. That usually doesn’t happen. Generally speaking, stars sparkle and planets do not, so you can distinguish between stars and planets. Pinpoint light from distant stars is bounced off by the Earth’s atmosphere. Near the horizon, the atmospheric layer is much thicker, which can cause the planet to shimmer and also bounce more substantial light from the planet.
As January progresses, Venus will rise more and more and the Sun will rise more and more. By the time of Groundhog Day, Venus will be lost in the brilliance of our homestar. Venus will begin to appear in the evening in the second half of this spring. This is the final call to consider Venus as a “morning star.”
Jupiter and Saturn are still hanging nearby very early at night after a spectacular show in late December. With the addition of the moderately bright planet Mercury this week, it will be much harder to see all three as it pops out into the evening twilight, very close to the horizon. You need to make sure you are looking from where you can see the horizon. The top of the hill is the best. At the beginning of the week, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury are grouped into narrow triangles. By Thursday and Friday, Mercury will move to the upper left of the declining Jupiter and Saturn. At the same time, a new and very thin crescent moon joins the three planets. On Thursday evening, the moon perches on the upper left of the planet. As an additional attraction, you will enjoy the beautiful phenomenon of planetshine again bathing in the moon.
As January progresses, Jupiter and Saturn set faster, and the sun sets slower as more sunlight increases. By the end of next week, they will disappear completely with the brilliance of the sun. However, Mercury still appears temporarily in the low evening sky southwest.
Enjoy early morning and evening shows hosted by the planet and the moon. All you need is God-given eyes to see them. Unfortunately, all planets are so close to the horizon that everything looks very blurry with any size telescope. Again, it’s because of the thicker layers of the Earth’s atmosphere. In fact, the sun is not far from the planets in the sky, so it is highly recommended not to use a telescope. I don’t want to see the sun with a telescope or binoculars. A glimpse of the sun by accident can cause permanent damage and blindness.
Mike Lynch is an amateur astronomy and retired broadcast meteorologist at WCCO Radio in Minneapolis / Cent. Pole. He is the author of “Stars: Month by Month Tour of the Constellations,” published by Adventure Publications and available in bookstores and on adventurepublications.net. Mike can attend a private star party. You can contact him at email@example.com.
Planets are putting on a show at both ends of the night – Twin Cities Source link Planets are putting on a show at both ends of the night – Twin Cities