Set Your Alarm: Venus and Jupiter Will Light Up the Pre-Dawn Sky

This is a week dedicated to the early riser. If you’re an energetic morning person who can actually operate in the early hours or just have a strong desire for astronomy that overrides your need for sleep, then you’ll be able to witness quite the light show.

At about 45 minutes before sunrise (about 5:2o a.m.), Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets in the solar system, will be within one-third of a degree from each other above the east-northeastern horizon. This is the closest any two planets will be together in 2014.

Sky and Telescope Magazine describes this close pairing as a “double star” and says Venus and Jupiter will be so close in fact, you could cover both planets with the tip of your pinky finger at arm’s length. If you happen to live in the eastern U.S., the planets will appear to be even closer.


Image by Sky and Telescope Magazine

The best part is no equipment is required. All you need is the will and determination to get up early and the eyeballs in your head. If you can’t make the light show tomorrow—maybe you got super drunk, worked late, or hate outer space. I don’t know your business—then you’ll be able to catch Jupiter and Venus’s close celestial flirtation all week. However, tomorrow morning is when the two will be at their closest and their brightest. The next time they’ll be this close will be in the evening sky on Aug. 27, 2016.


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