Is it a plane? Is it a comet? Is it a UFO? Venus has been called all of these things! Venus is the brightest planet in the night sky because, not only is it the closest planet to Earth, it also reflects lots of sunlight from its thick cloudy atmosphere.
Jupiter is usually the brightest object in the early evening sky in the late winter, apart from the Moon! Using a telescope or binoculars you can see Jupiter’s four largest moons and make out the bands on the surface of the planet.
Moving into winter means we will soon be seeing Jupiter in the evening. The giant planet begins rising at midnight in mid-November and 9pm in mid-December.
We are pretty low on planets at this time of year, although Mars still hovers close to the South-West horizon in the evenings. In terms of nonvisible planets though, Uranus will be passing overhead at night and can be seen as a small ‘star’ with binoculars.
Mars is a great planet to spot right now as it has just passed close to the Earth in its orbit. It can be found close to the bright star Spica in the South-West.