Morning Planets Venus and Mars shine brightly in the sky before sunrise. Venus is low in the east, while Mars is in the southern sky.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Venus is now in Gemini, moving through the constellation for the remainder of August. In the starfield, it is 2.5° to the lower right of Mu Geminorum (μ Gem on the photo), 4.6° above Gamma Geminorum (γ Gem), and 0.7° to the upper right of Nu Geminorum (ν Gem). The crescent moon (24.7d, 24%) is over 13° above Venus. (See this article about this morning’s scene with the moon and Venus.)
Mars is high in the southern sky among dim stars in Pisces. During the next several weeks, Mars is near the three stars marked in the photograph above.
This morning the Red Planet is 1.0° to the lower left of Mu Piscium (μ Psc) and 2.4° to the right of Nu Piscium (ν Psc).
Mars continues to March eastward in Pisces until next month when it reverses its apparent direction in the sky. Watch it move away from μ Psc and pass ν Psc. On October 6, Mars is closest to Earth during this Martian appearance in the morning sky. At that time, it is near μ Psc again. A week later, Mars is to the right of the star. On that morning, Mars and the sun are in opposite directions in our sky.
This evening, locate Jupiter and Saturn in the southeastern sky after sunset.
Tomorrow morning, Venus and the crescent moon make a beautiful. Get your camera ready!
The first sightings of Sirius by the unaided eye occur during the next few mornings about 45 minutes before sunrise.
Here is a daily summary about the planets during August.
August 2, 2021: Saturn is at opposition with the sun. Earth is between the sun and the planet.
August 1 – 6, 2021: The morning moon wanes toward its New moon phase in the eastern sky. It passes the bright stars that are prominent in the evening sky during the winter season in the northern hemisphere. The stars have been making their first appearances in the morning sky during summer. At this hour, Procyon and bright Sirius are the last stellar duo to appear.
August 6, 2021: In the northern hemisphere, summer’s midpoint occurs today at 6:27 p.m. CDT.
July 31, 2021: The slightly gibbous moon, nearing its Last Quarter phase, is in the southeast as morning twilight begins. It is near the planet Uranus, easily within reach of a binocular. Mira, a variable star, reaches its brightest next month.
July 29, 2021: In a challenging-to-see conjunction, Mars passes 0.6° to the upper right of the star Regulus.