Sky Spy: Planets in proximity put on shows

2013-07-18T00:00:00Z Sky Spy: Planets in proximity put on showsTim Hunter Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The moon brightens the skies for the next several days, but there is plenty to see if we keep our attention focused on the planets.

The sun sets at 7:30 tonight. Look toward the west at 8 p.m. to see brilliant Venus only 5 1/2 degrees from Regulus in Leo the Lion.

Regulus is to the left (south) and slightly higher above the horizon than Venus. Follow this pair as the sky darkens. You may need binoculars to spot Regulus. Venus is on the move and will get closer to Regulus - only a little more than a degree from Regulus on Sunday and Monday.

Like last week Venus and Regulus is not the only show in the sky. In the morning sky Mars and Jupiter put on quite a display for the next few weeks.

Friday morning from 4:30 to 5:15 look along the eastern horizon a little north of due east. Jupiter will be about 10 degrees above the horizon at 4:45 a.m. with Mars above Jupiter only 1 1/2 degrees.

They will be somewhat challenging to see in the brightening twilight. Have binoculars ready. Contrast the white or yellow color of Jupiter with the red color of Mars. They will be less than a degree apart on Sunday and Monday mornings.

If you make the effort to view the sky Monday morning between 4:30 and 5:15, you will be doubly rewarded.

Looking toward the east, you will see Jupiter and Mars less than a degree apart. But if you turn around and look to the west, there will be a beautiful setting full moon to start off your workweek with a bang.

Moon Watch

The moon is in a waxing (growing larger) gibbous (more than half lit) phase. Full moon is Monday.

Contact Tim Hunter at skyspy@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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