Venus and Jupiter dominate the south-eastern sky, but Saturn and the waning crescent moon augment the display

It is definitely worth getting up early this week as an attractive string of bright planets sits in the south-eastern sky. The brightest will be Venus, appearing low and furthest to the east. Venus is the planet that comes closest to earth. It orbits closer to the sun than our planet, and its bright clouds reflect the sunlight, giving it an unmistakeable brilliance. Once you have located Venus, look south and the next brightest object you will see is Jupiter. It will be about twice the altitude of Venus. Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System. It too appears bright because its clouds are good reflectors of the sunlight. With these two planets as markers, Saturn can be located between them. It appears closer to Venus in the sky than Jupiter. In reality, Saturn is twice as far away as Jupiter from the sun, and this makes it appear considerably dimmer than the other two planets. On the 28th the trio are joined by a waning crescent moon. With just over 32% of its surface illuminated and the spreading light of dawn to the east, this will be a beautiful sight to see. The chart shows the view at 06:00GMT on 28 February.

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