Above the Moon and easiest to see is the king of planets, Jupiter. Just to the Moon's upper left is faint Mars, which like Jupiter is just starting to appear in the morning sky as the Earth is set to overtake them in their race around the Sun. Mars is currently only 27 degrees from being on the exact opposite side Sun. The third planet in the photo is the elusive Mercury. It appears to the lower left of the Moon. While the Earth is undefeated in its racing career versus Jupiter and Mars, it does not come close to beating Mercury which zips around the Sun completing one orbit every 88 days.
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|Cropped photo shows planets more clearly|
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Jupiter and Mars will be rising a little earlier every day until reaching opposition (when the Earth passes between them and the Sun) and they will be visible all night. For Jupiter that occurs on January 5, 2014. Mars being closer to the Sun than Jupiter has a velocity closer to Earth's speed so it takes Earth longer to to lap it. Its opposition doesn't occur until April 8, 2014. Mercury is getting lower each morning and will be on the opposite side of the Sun on August 24. The Moon may be visible much lower tomorrow morning and will be in line with the Sun on Tuesday and not visible until later in the week when it returns to the evening sky as a thin crescent low near the horizon.