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Beyond The Forecast: Planets to see in the early days of 2021

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Happy Monday and welcome to 2021! It’s the first edition of the Beyond The Forecast newsletter in the new year. If you like to stargaze, we’re pleased to report that the skies will be busy for you over the next week!

Let’s flash forward to Saturday evening, when Mercury will come into view in the southwestern sky (just above the horizon), along with Jupiter and Saturn.

Mercury will appear to be the lower-left point of a scalene triangle, with Jupiter as the top point and Saturn as the other point.

If you miss the show Saturday evening, don’t worry. Mercury will slowly move up and to the left in the sky in the following evenings, eventually setting up right next to Jupiter by Monday.

Early forecasts call for clear skies on these evenings but make sure you check back for updates on the expected cloud cover.

We have one more planet sighting to tell you about: Venus! This will require an early wake-up call as the planet’s visit with the near-new moon will happen before dawn next Monday.

The moon and planet will be visible in the southeast sky by 6:30 a.m. or so, with Venus on the left and our natural satellite on the right.

Again, check the forecast Sunday night before you go to bed to make sure clouds won’t obscure your view.

In case you’re wondering, this month’s new moon occurs on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

Switching gears to your forecast, there’s not a whole lot going on in the weather world this week up until Friday. That’s when a storm system is poised to send precipitation into our area. We’re still figuring out how much we’ll get and whether it’s rain, snow or something else. Chris Michaels is breaking down the challenges in our daily forecast article.

You can always get specific forecast details for your zone, whether it’s the Roanoke Valley, Southside, the Highlands or elsewhere around Southwest and Central Virginia, anytime at Know your zone!

In case you missed it, we’re posting great weather and science content on Here are a few links from the past week to check out:

If you prefer your weather information delivered by social media, you can follow Your Local Weather Authority on Facebook and Twitter.

-- Justin McKee

About the Author:

Justin McKee presents the weather forecast on 10 News Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6 to 8 a.m. He also fills in for other meteorologists during the week.