Stargazing: Eye-catching morning conjunction

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Eye-catching morning conjunction

Early risers have seen dazzling bright Venus in the morning sky ever since it crossed the disk of the sun last June. Our sister planet has reached its highest possible pre-dawn position and is now beginning a slow descent from the morning sky. As Venus sinks to the eastern horizon this week, it will pass extremely close to Leo's brightest star, Regulus.

Look for the stunning pairing of Venus and Regulus 25 degrees above the eastern horizon Wednesday morning one hour before sunrise. Venus, shining about 150 times brighter than Regulus, will sit within one-eighth of of a degree to the lower right of its morning partner. Keep in mind that the width of your little finger held out toward the horizon equals about one degree. The close conjunction between Venus and Regulus will continue until the duo drifts about 5 degrees apart by next Tuesday.

Over the next three months, Venus' slow descent will take our "morning star" to within 5 degrees of the eastern horizon, before sunrise.



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