The Dance of Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon
In the weeks after January 25th, 2019 Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon perform a dance in the morning sky. The 25th begins with Venus, Jupiter, and Antares in a line in the Southeast sky right before sunrise.
As the weeks pass Venus moves toward the Sun and Jupiter stays stationary with the stars as they move slightly up and to the right along the ecliptic (the path the sun makes as it rises and falls every day).
The Moon comes into the picture later in the week and will come very close to Venus on January 31st.
The motion seen in the sky can be better understood if you look down on the solar system. From this vantage point you can see that Venus is inside the orbit of Earth and is moving faster around the Sun. The Earth is also moving, but slower, so Venus takes a long time to get around the Sun from the Earth’s point of view, but it does eventually and then it becomes and evening “star” instead of a morning “star.” Jupiter’s orbit is farther out, so Jupiter’s motion is practically fixed to the stars behind in the time-span of a week. Jupiter moves in it’s orbit, but slowly compared to Earth and Venus.
Saturn will join the mix of morning planets in the week after.