This summer, skywatchers will be treated to excellent views of various planets in the pre-dawn and dusk skies.
In early July, Venus and Jupiter will be very bright in the east-northeast, one to two hours before sunrise. On July 14, the moon joins the grouping. In the following days, Venus and Jupiter slowly drift apart, with Jupiter high in the sky and Venus appearing lower towards the horizon.
In mid-August, in the night sky, the planets Saturn and Mars appear near the bright star Spica, one to two hours after sunset in the southwestern sky. By Aug. 21st, the crescent moon has joined the group low in the west-southwest.
Also in mid-August, Mercury, the closest planet to the sun, moves far enough away from the glare so that it can be spotted in the pre-dawn sky. Skywatchers can use the bright planet Venus as an aid to locating Mercury.
If you snap an amazing photo of Venus and the moon, or Mars and Saturn, that you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please send images and comments to managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.