Observant sky watchers will have noticed that the two brightest planets in our skies have been drawing close together. Jupiter and Venus are currently about 2° apart. Sunday evening will see them at their closest for viewers in the islands at just under 1.5° apart. Monday will see the pair very slightly further apart at just over 1.5° separation.
After Monday the two will gradually separate further with Jupiter disappearing into the sunset in mid-December while Venus continues to climb further from the Sun until maximum elongation on March 24, 2020.
On Wednesday the 27th a thin crescent Moon will join these bright planets, just 5° below Jupiter. On Thursday the 28th the Moon will be 4° above Venus. The three should make for quite a spectacular sight in the glow of sunset.
A degree and a half separation will allow both to fit in the field of view of very low power telescopes and binoculars, a bit much to fit both in the field of view of most telescopes.
This evening, July 15th, the Moon will pass quite close to Saturn. For viewers in the islands the pair will be closest as it grows dark, slowly separating as the night advances.
At sunset the two will be separated by about 40 arcminutes. Keep in mind that is a center to center distance, considering the size of the moon this puts the planet about 25 arcminutes from the limb of the Moon, close enough to appear in the field of a medium power eyepiece in most amateur telescopes.
As the Moon is also quite close to full it will be rising at sunset, thus a good eastern horizon is desirable to see this event early in the evening. Look for a bright, slightly yellowish star-like object just north of the Moon as it rises.
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.