Venus and Jupiter Dance In The Early Morning Sky

Check your forecast. If you have any chance of clear skies in the early morning, get up outta bed and look to the eastern skies, just before sunrise. Venus and Jupiter will be as close to each other in the sky as they have been in a long time. How close? Less than a 1/2 a degree apart. How close is that? Damn close. If you have a telescope you will easily fit both planets in the field of view.

If you don’t have a telescope, do you have binoculars? Binoculars will give a great view of this event. If you have neither a telescope or binoculars you don’t need them! All you have to do is look to the east in the morning twilight. You will see two very bright “stars” quite close, this will be what you are looking for. Venus will be the planet on the left, Jupiter on the right.

There is a bonus! Just to the left of Venus there is a well known cluster of stars known as the Beehive (a.k.a. M44)*  in the constellation Cancer. If you are early enough you should be able to make it out pretty well before the sun starts to wash it out. You will need optical aid to see the cluster most likely. It can be seen naked eye as a small fuzzy patch, on a really clear night when it is further from the sun than it is now. As it is right now, probably not a naked eye object. Binoculars should be able to tease it out.

* After the great comet hunter Charles Messier who documented many objects in his hunt for comets. The Messier Catalogue is a list of many objects he kept track of, that to him just were not comets. To astronomers today both pro and amateur these objects are treasures in the sky that we make efforts to seek out and observe.

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