Skywatch: Look for the earliest sunrises this week

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The First Quarter Moon arrives early in the week. It’ll be here on Monday morning at 1:59 a.m. That means you should be able to see what looks like a half-moon on both Sunday and Monday nights.

Courtesy: NASA

Jupiter reaches a milestone on Monday morning as well. At around 11 a.m., the planet will be at opposition. That’s when it lines up opposite the sun when viewed from Earth. This is why the planet has been so bright recently. Look for Jupiter high in the southeastern and SSE sky after sunset through midnight. It’ll be shining brightly.

The moon has a date with Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo, on Tuesday and Wednesday night. The moon will wash out a number of nearby stars both evenings but not Spica. This is how the two will look Tuesday night.

This week, you can look for the earliest sunrises of the year. Even though the summer solstice, and longest day of the year, is next week, the earliest sunrises come about a week before. That’s because if you were to look at the length of the day or the time it takes the midday sun to return from one day to the next, what you’d see is just a little more than 24 hours long this time of year. According to sunrise/sunset.org, the earliest sunrise this year will be Thursday morning when the sun peeks up over the horizon at 6:02:36 a.m.

I mentioned the planet Jupiter earlier and you’ll be able to use the moon to help you find it on Friday and Saturday nights. Jupiter will be just below and left of the brightening moon in the southeastern sky in the evening. Antares, the brightest star in the constellation of Scorpius, will be nearby. Above is how you’ll find them on Friday night. Happy hunting!