Tomorrow morning, you can see see the hottest planet in the solar system pair up in conjunction with the coldest. That would be Venus, with a surface temperature of 864°F (462°C), and remote Uranus with cloud tops chillin’ at –357°F (–216°C). Venus is the most brilliant planet and easy to spot if you have a clear view to the east. To find Uranus, which is only 10,000 times fainter than Venus, you’ll need a pair of binoculars. 7x35s or 10x50s should work nicely.
Venus will look like a big, glowing “star” and Uranus a pinpoint through your glass. The two are not only far apart in temperature, but also in distance. Venus will be 64.9 million miles from Earth tomorrow morning and Uranus 1.9 billion miles or 29 times more distant. In the same field of view, you’ll also see the star Omicron Piscium also know by its tongue-toppling name Latin name of Tocularis Septentrionalis.
Uranus is just entering the morning sky headed west just as Venus is about to turn around and begin moving back east. Each meets the other for a weekend sleepover, so if it’s cloudy tomorrow, they’ll still be a close duo for a couple more mornings.
The best time for viewing depends on your latitude. In the central and southern U.S., where the sun rises later and twilights are shorter, you can start watching up to 1½ hours before sunrise when Venus will about 12° high in a relatively dark sky. If you live in the northern U.S. or Europe, you won’t get a good view until about 75 minutes before sunrise and the sky will be brighter. Click here to find when the sun rises for your town.
Joining the planetary duo will be the comet C/2015 ER61 PanSTARRS. It’s fairly bright at magnitude +8 and would otherwise be visible in binoculars, but its low altitude makes it better suited for telescopic viewing. A 6-inch should be adequate for a look.
Now that it’s June, we’re coming into the shortest nights of the year. You’ll really get in touch with that fact if you rise early to see this unique conjunction.