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The ‘Summer Of Planets’ Just Began. Here’s When To Get The Best Views Of Venus, Jupiter, Saturn And Mercury – Forbes

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Illustration of the solar system, showing the paths of the eight major planets as they orbit the … [+] Sun, plus the asteroids and comets. The four inner planets are, from inner to outer, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. The four outer planets are, inner to outer, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
The “Christmas Star” conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn was, rare, auspicious and ages ago. What planet can you see tonight?
That depends on when you look—and how late at night you look—but as this summer gathers pace, the planets are going to become brighter and much more convenient to see.
Planets visible tonight from across Earth include Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, though none of them are in prime position (check planet-rise/planet-set times for your location).
However, come the end of June Venus will be high in the sky and easy to see right after sunset-as it is right now, albeit low on the horizon—and both Jupiter and Saturn will be visible by midnight.
Here’s everything you need to know about when to see planets in summer 2021:
Three images of Jupiter show the gas giant in three different types of light — infrared, visible, … [+] and ultraviolet.
When: August 19, 2021
Where: rising in the east and in the sky all night
Jupiter will reach opposition—when Earth passes between it and the Sun—on August 19, 2021.
The geometry of a planet’s opposition also means that the planet rises at dusk (in the east) and sets at dawn (in the west), which is convenient.
It’s a time to point binoculars and telescopes at the gas giant to see if you can see pink bands in its atmosphere and four of its moons. They’re easy targets. 
Saturn in this latest snapshot from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, taken on July 4, 2020, when the … [+] opulent giant world was 839 million miles from Earth. This new Saturn image was taken during summer in the planet’s northern hemisphere.
When: August 2, 2021
Where: rising in the east and in the sky all night
Saturn reaches opposition on August 2, 2021. Its disk will be 100% illuminated as seen from Earth, and Saturn will look at its brightest and best for all of 2020. 
However, in practice the ringed planet will be well-positioned and shining very brightly for many weeks before and after this date.
A great time to see Jupiter will be on August 22, 2021 when it appears just 3º from a full “Blue Sturgeon Moon,” the third of four full Moons this summer.
Mars, Venus and Jupiter in conjunction as seen from Vulcan, Alberta in 2015. (Photo by: Alan Dyer … [+] /VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
When: After sunset, April-December, 2021
Where: western night sky
After being hidden from most of us in the pre-dawn morning skies, Venus emerged as an “Evening Star” in late April 2021.
By mid-June, Venus is setting about 90 minutes after the Sun.
It’s now incredibly bright, though it during its 2021 apparition it won’t get very high as seen from the northern hemisphere. It will reach its maximum brightness in December. 
The trio of (L to R) Saturn, Mars and Jupiter in conjunction in the dawn twilight, taken from home … [+] in Alberta on March 26, 2020. This is a stack of 10 exposures for the ground to smooth noise and one exposure for the sky to minimize trailing with Topaz DeNoise AI applied. All 10 seconds at f/2 with the Rokinon 85mm lens and Canon EOS Ra at ISO 3200. Luminar Flex Soft Glow effect added. (Photo by: Alan Dyer/VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
When: Before sunrise on Sunday, July 4, 2021
Where: eastern sky
The hardest-to-see planet this morning gets as far from the Sun—from our point of view—during its current apparition.
From today through next week is a great time to try to spot a brightening Mercury about 15º above the eastern horizon in the hour or so before dawn before it slinks back towards the Sun. 
Only five planets are visible from Earth to the naked-eye; Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The other two— Neptune and Uranus—require a small telescope.
Times and dates given apply to mid-northern latitudes. For the most accurate location-specific information consult online planetariums like Stellarium and The Sky Live. Check planet-rise/planet-setsunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset times for where you are. 
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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