For early birds, Venus has been a dazzling beacon for several weeks now. It reaches the pinacle of its appearance in the mornings this week, as its orbit carries it to its greatest separation from the Sun, called its Greatest Western Elongation. This brings Venus up at 3:11 AM, nearly four hours before sunrise, high in the southeast by 6:30.
With evenings arriving a bit earlier each day, you’ll find the twilight darkening from 6:15 to 7 o’clock, at which point you should gaze toward the southeast, where the waxing Gibbous Moon glows well to the right of the planet Saturn, sitting about one quarter of the way up from the horizon. They’ll crest due south at 8:45 PM.
Early risers may be wonder-struck at the display of bright objects near 5 o’clock. Jupiter has been out all night, and remains in view in the southwest, while the winter constellation Orion crosses the south. Meanwhile, Venus lights up the eastern skies, shining even brighter than Jupiter.