Morning star

Last Edited By Krjb Donovan
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2014 07:56 PM GMT

Question

I come to work early around 5 am. The past few days I have seen an extremely bright star or planet in the east, and was curious to discover what that might be. Thank you.

Answer

Hi Kip, That's Venus, brightest starlike object in our night sky. The same planet that we were viewing in the early evening western sky most of the winter, until it sank in the west to cross between Earth and sun, and is now in the eastern early morning sky. Conjunction was March 27th (the 'crossover' point). Right now that little red dot of a star directly under Venus is Mars. Jupiter is the less brighter object in the SE as Venus rises, about 1/2 the brightness of Venus, but still quite bright. So we have 3 of the 5 naked eye planets in the morning eastern sky right now.

Venus will continue to rise earlier as it climbs up into our morning sky, reaching a maximum brilliance right now, April 23rd. Of course the future diminshment of brightness is hardly noticeable as the mornings go by. Venus will remain in our eastern morning sky for the rest of the year, reaching a maximum height above the horizon in July as it rises as early as around 3:30 am local daylight time. In the autumn it will rise later and later as it goes out ahead of us, around the back side of the sun in late December, becoming invisible until it emerges back into our early evening western sky in spring of 2010. And that's how it works, as Venus orbits the sun once every 225 days. Hope this helps, Clear Skies, Tom Whiting Erie, PA

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