Watching the Skies: Planets on display as skies clear this week

Watching The Skies

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Rain and clouds have prevented some stargazing over the last several days. As skies gradually clear this week, we’ll have better opportunities to spot the planets. 

The moon will act as a guide to spot Jupiter early this week. It will pass below Jupiter from Monday to Tuesday. The two will be visible in the south before sunrise. 

Brenda Paul captured a picture of Jupiter and its moons shining bright in Howard last week. 

(Courtesy Brenda Paul)

Saturn will shine in the south at dawn as well, just to the right of Jupiter. To tell the two apart, remember that Jupiter is much brighter than Saturn. 

While you’re outside looking for Jupiter and Saturn, try to find Mercury. It will be low in the east-northeast before the sun comes up. Binoculars will help you spot it. 

If you’d rather do your stargazing during the late evening rather than the early morning, keep your eyes open for Venus and Mars. Venus is low in the west-northwest after the sun has gone down. 

Mars will be up and to the left of Venus. It will be hard to confuse the two, as Venus is many times brighter than Mars. A conjunction of the two planets will take place in mid-July. 

The full moon of June took place last week. Jim Amsler sent in this stunning photo of the Strawberry Moon. 

(Courtesy Jim Amsler)

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