Earth Sky News for Dec. 29th: Moon and Regulus on December 29

Moon and Regulus on December 29

Tonight – December 29, 2015 – look eastward before going to bed, and you just might catch the moon and the star Regulus over your horizon. If you’re an early bird – and go to sleep before the moon and Regulus come up at mid-to-late evening – wake up before dawn to see them. If you do that, you’ll notice the dazzling planet Jupiter nearby … and the moon will be moving toward Jupiter in the next few days. On this night, Jupiter will follow the moon and Regulus into your sky by very late evening or after midnight. After Jupiter rises, it’ll follow the moon and Regulus westward throughout the rest of the night.

Whether you’re sky gazing this evening or during the predawn hours, look first for the waning gibbous moon and the nearby bright star will be Regulus.

Jupiter is much brighter than Regulus and more noticeable, but it comes up later.

The exact rising times for the moon, Regulus and Jupiter vary around the world, so you might want to check out the links on our almanac page.

What’s more, three other planets – other than Jupiter – light up the morning sky right now: Venus, Mars and Saturn. All four will light up the morning hours for months to come.

And here’s something really exciting. Mercury will join the foursome in the morning sky in late January 2016. When that happens, all five visible planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – will be shining simultaneously in the sky visible from around the world.

You can see all five planets simultaneously from about January 20 to February 20, 2016.

In the meantime, you can also see all five visible planets tonight! Catch Mercury at dusk or very early evening, and then spot the other four visible morning planets – Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – in the predawn/dawn sky.