Venus spends the next few evenings in the company of the Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters, the compact cluster of stars one quarter of the way up in the west as darkness envelops the skies. This patch of stars will be above Venus tonight by 8:30 PM or so, and with each passing night, Venus climbs and little higher, and the Sisters drift a little lower.

Mercury shines at its best for a few more nights, reaching a position called its Greatest Eastern Elongation, or its greatest separation from the Sun. By 8 o’clock, Venus gleams remarkably bright, one third of the way up in the west. Mercury sits about two hand-widths above the west-northwest horizon, edging lower but still in view through 8:30 PM.

Jupiter reaches its conjunction with the Sun today, which from our view is directly behind it, completely out of view. With Jupiter’s slow paced orbit of 12 years, it will be the Earth’s orbital motion that changes our view of the largest planet, gradually bringing into the morning twilight by late May, but not back to the evening skies until this Fall.