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Planets visible to the naked eye

  • Photo: Sophie Desrosiers
    Planets visible to the naked eye

    From August 10 to 24, 2020

    Mercury is now too close to the sun and is not visible. The tiny planet passes behind the sun (superior conjunction) on August 17, and over the following weeks will gradually emerge in the evening sky, where it will undergo a very poor apparition.

    Venus is the dazzling Morning Star that shines brightly in the east after 2:30 a.m. and until sunrise, reaching more than 30 degrees above the horizon at dawn. On the morning of August 15, the thin, waning crescent Moon hangs 3 ½ degrees to the upper left of Venus.

    Mars, now very bright, emerges above the eastern horizon after 11:00 p.m. At the crack of dawn, the Red Planet culminates nearly 50 degrees high in the south. During the night of September 5 to 6, the waning gibbous Moon glides within one half degree below Mars.

    Jupiter appears above the southeast horizon during evening twilight. The bright Giant Planet culminates around 10:30 p.m. some 22 degrees high in the south, and sets in the southwest after 2:30 a.m. Note the presence of Saturn, a few degrees to its left. During the night of August 28 to 29, the waxing gibbous Moon passes within 2 degrees below Jupiter and draws a long triangle with Saturn farther to the left.

    Saturn appears above the southeast horizon during evening twilight, a few degrees to the left of bright Jupiter. The Ringed Planet culminates about 23 degrees high in the south around 11:00 p.m. and sets in the southwest after 3:00 a.m. During the night of August 28 to 29, the waxing gibbous Moon passes within 2 degrees below Jupiter and draws a long triangle with Saturn farther to the left.

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