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Planets visible to the naked eye

  • Photo: Sophie Desrosiers

    From May 22 to June 5, 2017

    Mercury is presently visible at dawn until the first week of June. Using binoculars, look for the tiny planet very low in the east, about 30 minutes before sunrise. Mercury becomes brighter with each passing day, but remains very difficult to see.

    Venus is the bright Morning Star, visible above the eastern horizon at the end of the night and at dawn; Venus rises one and a half hour before the sun. A thin crescent moon will appear near Venus on the mornings of June 20 and 21.

    Mars appears at dusk less than 10 degrees above the west-northwest horizon, where it sets before 10 p.m. Now far from the Earth and faint, the red planet is becoming more and more difficult to pick out against the bright twilight: binoculars will help you spot it, but it will vanish completely in the sun’s glare during June.

    Jupiter dominates the evening sky, until late in the night. The bright planet appears at dusk just as it culminates some 39 degrees high in the south; it sets in the west before dawn. Bright star Spica shines with a bluish-white tint a few degrees to the lower left of the giant planet. The waxing gibbous moon appears near Jupiter on June 3: they’re just 1 ½ degrees apart at nightfall, but their separation increases during the evening and the night.

    Saturn is visible during the second half of the night and at dawn. Look for the Ringed Planet low in the southeast after 10:30 p.m.; it culminates around 2 a.m., 22 degrees above the southern horizon. The full moon will be just 2 ½ degrees from Saturn on the evening of June 9.

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