VERY CAREFUL NOT TO OBSERVE SUN DIRECTLY!
INSTANT BLINDNESS CAN OCCUR!!!
Instruments can explode!!! Cease viewing before Sun actually rises if you're using binoculars or telescope!!!
Shadow silhouette of Curiosity Rover vehicle just after landing on target in Gale Crater on Mars late Sunday evening PDEarthT, Sunday, August 5th, 2012. Major kudos to the NASA/JPL Curiosity Flight Team! Now the real work begins to explore the planet for habitability and possible current life!
PLANET and SKY INFORMATION: (updated December 5th, 2013)
Planet Parade: Mercury is close to conjunction with Sun, changing from morning to evening object, currently not readily visible, will appear low in western post sunset sky next month.
Venus lingers in southwestern post sunset sky, visible
as soon as twilight begins, sets around 700 PM.
Mars rises in east around 100 AM.
Jupiter is at opposition this week, opposite Earth from the Sun, so visible all through the night, rising in northeast around 700 PM, bright whitish dot.
Saturn is the golden dot rising around 500 AM in eastern sky, won't be readily visible until late Spring and into Summer.
Uranus and Neptune are in the southern evening sky, need telescope to see.
Comet ISON brightened a bit prior to Thanksgiving but then was pretty much destroyed while passing a solar diameter away from Sun Thanksgiving Day, a cloud of dust reappeared behind the occulting mask flying away in a trajectory that matched the incoming path, but then quickly fading, we don't know yet if any of the nucleus survived.
Meanwhile, Comet Lovejoy in the NW portion of the sky, is putting on a good show, visible to unaided eye from dark sky locations, see Astro Bob or Sky & Telescope websites for finder charts, and there are lots of good images posted online, like at APOD site.
rises around 700 PM alongside (to the right of) Jupiter. Orion is oriented horizontally as he rises, preparing for his trek across the sky each night. His three belt stars stand
almost vertically with respect to the horizon, with Betelgeuse to the left and
Rigel to the right of the belt.
by early evening you can still view Andromeda/Pegasus/Perseus and Cassiopeia.
The constellations of Winter dominate the later evening sky: Auriga, Taurus, Gemini, Orion, and Canis Major with brilliant star Sirius, and Canis Minor. You can trace the Winter Circle of bright stars: Capella (Auriga), Aldebaran (Taurus), Sirius (Canis Major), Rigel and Betelgeuse (Orion), Procyon (Canis Minor), and Pollux and Castor (Gemini), as we view outward into the Perseus spiral arm of our Galaxy as we sit in the Orion Spur of that arm. The relative proximity of those stars (even though light years away), along with most of them being Giant class stars, makes them appear bright.
The Big Dipper is low in the northern sky at evening darkness this time of year, and wheels upward in the east by later at night.
By later at night the stars of Spring are showing up to the east, Leo the Lion, with Regulus and Denebola, and Bootes with brilliant yellow Arcturus.