If you get up before sunrise over the coming days, take a look over to your north east and you’ll see a few of Earth’s neighbours low in the morning twilight. Going up from the horizon is the briefest visitor Mercury, then Mars, and the biggest of the lot the gas world Jupiter. This trio of morning planets forms a roughly diagonal line low above the north eastern horizon before the day breaks.
But the waning crescent Moon is also arriving on the scene, and as it joins the planets its crescent phase gets slimmer each morning towards new phase. From the 2nd to the 5th of August the Moon moves past the planets a few degrees to their east, following their same line as it sinks lower each day.
On the morning of Sunday the 4th of August (image above, click to enlarge) you get three planets and the slim crescent Moon for an attractive early morning sky show, with the Moon just to the right of Mars. Jupiter will be brightest at magnitude -1.50, with fainter Mars below it at magnitude 1.82, Mercury will be brighter than Mars at -0.21. The image above shows the view north west at 4.10 am, sunrise is about an hour later.
The Monday morning of the 5th sees the slimmer crescent Moon to the south east of Mercury, but more challenging to spot as the Moon will be a very slim crescent and nearer the glare of the rising Sun.
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