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Planets visible to the naked eye

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Planets visible to the naked eye
Photo: Sophie Desrosiers

July 21 to August 4, 2014 

Mercury is visible at dawn until the end of July. Look for the tiny planet just above the east-northeast horizon, 45 minutes before sunrise, to the lower left of Venus. Mercury becomes brighter, but it it’s also closing in on the sun and appears lower every day; it becomes lost in the glare of approaching sunrise in early August. Mercury passes behind the sun (superior conjunction) on August 8.

Venus is visible at dawn: the bright Morning Star rises in the east-northeast about two hours before the sun. The crescent moon will appear 6 degrees to the right of Venus on the morning of July 24, an hour before sunrise.

Mars appears during evening twilight, less than 20 degrees high in the southwest horizon, and sets in the west-southwest around 11:30 p.m. The Red Planet currently appears as an orange point of light among the stars of Virgo. The crescent moon will lie 6 degrees to the right of Mars on the evening of August 2.

Jupiter is too close to the sun and is not visible presently. The giant planet passes behind the sun (conjunction) on July 24 and reappears at dawn in mid-August.

Saturn appears during evening twilight about 25 degrees above the south-southwest horizon, and sets in the west-southwest around midnight. The first quarter moon lies 5 degrees to the right of Saturn on the evening of August 3.

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