This evening will feature a a pretty set of planets and the Moon low in the sunset. Mercury, Mars, and a thin crescent Moon will be visible above the glow of the setting Sun.
The Moon will be a very thin sliver, a mere 4% illuminated. Look 7° above the Moon for Mars. Mercury will be harder to spot, about 7° below the Moon, closer to the sunset and a little north (to the right).
This evening will feature a 6 day old crescent Moon 7° from Mars. Look for a bright orange object a few degrees north (to the right) and a bit below the Moon to spot the planet. Mars should be bright and obvious at about +1 magnitude next to the Moon.
With the Moon only a half a degree from Venus this morning, it should be relatively easy to spot the brilliant planet high in the daytime sky.
Spotting planets in the daytime is not that difficult, both Jupiter and Venus are bright enough to seen in full daylight. Venus is currently near maximum brilliance at about -4.3 magnitude, easily bright enough to see in a clear sky. There are a few helpful hints to make this easier.
Today the Moon will make finding Venus quite easy. The planet is only half a degree above the Moon, just above the slim crescent. Keep in mind that the Moon is half a degree across, the planet will be half a Moon diameter above the unlit side, easy to spot in the mid-morning sky. Having the Moon nearby will not only aid in locating the Planet, it will also provide your eyes something to focus on.
The year begins with a nice pairing of a 17% crescent Moon and a brilliant Venus just 2° apart before dawn tomorrow on New year’s Day. Jupiter and Mercury are also visible in the glow of sunrise below the pair.
The month of January will feature a clutch of bright planets in the dawn. Mercury will disappear into the sun’s glare to be replaced by Saturn emerging from superior conjunction mid-month, joining Venus and Jupiter.
Tomorrow morning, July 20th, a pretty crescent Moon will be located close to a brilliant Venus. The Moon will be a slim 11% crescent a little over 4° from Venus shining at -4.0 magnitude. The pair will rise about three hours before sunrise a bit before 2am, look for the two above the brightening glow of dawn.