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Planets visible to the naked eye

  • Photo: Sophie Desrosiers

    From August 12 to 26, 2019

    Mercury is visible in the morning sky, until the last week of August. Scan the east-northeast horizon 45 minutes before sunrise, looking for a small dot of light in the colours of dawn. The brightness of the tiny planet increases gradually, so it should become easier to see; however, at the same time, its elongation from the sun is shrinking, so Mercury appears lower and lower in the sky. We lose sight of it during the last days of August.

    Venus is drowned in the glare of the rising sun and is not visible at the moment. The bright planet passes behind the sun (superior conjunction) on August 14, and will gradually reappear in the evening sky this fall.

    Mars is too close to the sun and is not currently visible. The Red Planet passes behind the sun (solar conjunction) on September 2, and will reappear in the dawn sky in October.

    Jupiter shines brightly in the south-southwest at dusk and during the evening. The Giant Planet appears during twilight just after it passes culmination, some 22 degrees high in the south, and then descends toward the southwest horizon where it sets around midnight. The first quarter Moon will shine less than 5 degrees to the right of Jupiter on the evening of September 5.

    Saturn is also easy to see during the evening. The Ringed Planet appears in the south-southeast during evening twilight, culminates 22 degrees high in the south around 10:00 p.m., and sets in the southwest around 2:00 a.m. The waxing gibbous Moon will shine near Saturn during the evenings of September 7 and 8.

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