Bright Stars in the East and the West

UPDATE: August 2009.  If you’ve come here seeking information on the bright object in the East in the evening, that is Jupiter.

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Venus, Saturn and Mars before breakfast

If you haven’t gotten out in the dark mornings yet this month, make it a point to do so before the moon washes it out. This morning, the skies had cleared from our overnight rain, and with a pair of cheap binoculars I paused for a couple of minutes to look at Venus, Saturn and Mars. Venus and Saturn are together in the the eastern morning sky, with our nearer neighbor blazing away at -4.45, completely outshining the larger but more distant Saturn (0.77). Mars was near but a bit south of zenith, just above Orion, but shining brightly at Mag . 0.33, sitting about 20 degrees above Betelgeuse, no slouch itself at Mag 0.6.

Of course, I also admired searing Sirius, scintillating bright red, blue, and green in the early morning air.