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  • February 4, 2019

Planets visible to the naked eye - January 28, 2019

  • Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan
Photo: Sophie Desrosiers

From January 28 to February 11, 2019

Mercury is too close to the sun and is not visible presently. The tiny planet passes behind the sun (superior conjunction) on January 30, and will reappear in the evening sky during the second week of February.

Venus is the dazzling Morning Star that dominates the south-eastern sky at the end of the night and at dawn. It emerges above the east-southeast horizon less than 3 hours before sunrise; at dawn, it stands about 15 degrees high in the southeast. Not quite as brilliant, Jupiter also shines to the right of Venus. On the morning of January 31, the thin lunar crescent lies between Jupiter and Venus, just 2 ½ degrees to the right of the Morning Star. The next morning, February 1, the thin lunar crescent hangs between Venus and Saturn.

Mars is receding from Earth and still slowly fading. Despite this, the Red Planet remains an easily identifiable object: it appears at dusk about 45 degrees high in the southwest, and sets in the west around 11:00 p.m. On the evening of February 10, the waxing crescent moon lays degrees to the left of the Red Planet.

Jupiter is very bright and easy to see in the southeast at the end of the night and at dawn, just to the right of dazzling Venus. On the morning of January 30, the waning crescent Moon hangs 7 degrees to the upper right of Jupiter. The next morning, January 31, the thin lunar crescent lies between Jupiter and Venus.

Saturn passed behind the sun (conjunction) on January 2. The ringed planet is now pulling away from the sun’s glare and gradually reappearing at dawn: scan the southeast horizon with binoculars between 45 minutes and one hour before sunrise looking for a pinpoint of light in the colours of dawn to the lower left of dazzling Venus. On the morning of February 1, the thin lunar crescent lays between Venus and Saturn.

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