Tonight as skies have cleared, we have a great view this evening of some of the planets dancing around with the moon.
Right now we are just coming out of the peak of the Perseids. They will still be visible for a few more weeks mainly around the middle of the night after midnight to about 5am is the best time.
The waxing crescent moon is only at 6% visible tonight, and the moon is setting just after 10pm tonight (Monday) to about 1am (this upcoming Sunday). So if you are up late and have a fairly cloud free night, its a good time to watch.
Planets are all over the place in the evening sky
(the image above is difficult to show the exact position of the planets in the evening sky relative to Columbus. Venus in west, Jupiter in southwest, Saturn in south-southeast, Mars in Southeast evening sky.)
It is hard to miss them. In fact, I have had many calls tonight. Right now in our evening sky, we have Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars all visible. Believe it or not, Mercury will be visible this month too, but mainly in the early morning sky before sunrise.
Late this month and early next month, Mercury can be viewed about 90 minutes before sunrise (seems too early for me).
Right now, in the sky, Venus will be closet to the moon in the evening in the west sky. Right now it is setting a bit more than 1.5 hours after sunset in the west sky (around 10pm). It will appear to be the brightest thing (other than the Moon) in the evening sky after sunset.
After Venus is Jupiter, our biggest planet, and will appear quite bright in the night sky. It will be a distance behind Venus more in the southwest sky during the evening.
The next few nights, the moon will appear to pass Jupiter, and then Venus in the evening sky before setting.
In the south/southeast sky in the evening will be Saturn (yes Saturn, you will need a telescope to see the rings). It will be easier to see in the mid-night sky as it will be more overhead and higher in the sky.
To the east of Saturn, in the southeast sky in the evening, and with a red tint, is Mars. This is in my opinion the easiest to pick out of all the planets because of its brightness and red coloring. Though Venus is brighter, this one is close.
While most of the planets will appear dimmer by the end of August, Mercury in the morning sky will be easier to see. Also the Moon will continue to get brighter and brighter in the night sky until the full moon on August 26th.
If you ever have questions about the planets, stars, or any other weather questions back here on Earth, email me, firstname.lastname@example.org