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06/05/2017 – Ephemeris – Why Venus is low in the eastern sky

June 5, 2017

Ephemeris for Monday, June 5th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 25 minutes, setting at 9:23, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:58. The Moon, half way from first quarter to full, will set at 4:40 tomorrow morning.

Saturday the planet Venus was at greatest western elongation from the Sun, That is it is the farthest west it will appear from the Sun. It’s still not very high in our sky. However for those in the southern hemisphere Venus will appear very high in the east. There is a rule about this: Planets which are east of the Sun, like Mars is now are easiest seen on spring evenings. Planets which are west of the Sun, like Venus is now are easiest seen on autumn mornings. Since the southern hemisphere has the opposite seasons as the north, this is their autumn, and morning planets are easiest seen. This is especially true for Mercury, which is even closer to the Sun than Venus. Generally it’s only seen when it appears on spring evenings and autumn mornings.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


Low morning planets

Venus’ low morning appearance is due to the fact that on spring mornings the ecliptic (red line path of the Sun in the sky and nearly that of the planets) lies low to the horizon. Created using Stellarium.

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