The Planets Tonight, May 16, 2013


With the moon approaching its first quarter phase, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn appear in the spring evening sky as see from the Chicago area this evening.

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As Venus moves into the evening sky, it is appearing low in the sky during early evening twilight as shown in the image above.  (Click the image to see it larger).  Find an unobstructed horizon and begin looking for Venus about 30 minutes after sunset.  It is easy to see without a telescope or binocular.  Jupiter is about 12 degrees to the upper left of Venus and behind clouds in the image.

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Jupiter emerged from behind the clouds and is visible through the trees at 9:05 p.m.  Venus and Jupiter are closing on each other at about 2 degrees each day and the pair is closest later this month when Mercury joins them.

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Meanwhile, Saturn and Spica (Virgo) appear through the clouds in the southeastern sky.  (Click the image to see it larger.)

For more about the grouping of Mercury, Venus and Jupiter, see our monthly skywatching posting.

For more about Venus as an evening star, see our detailed explanation of this evening appearance this year.

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