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Brevard Co. FL. At first I thought it was a comet it appeared to have a tail. Starts out low in the east and gains elevation as the sun rises. As the sun is just above the horizon it is still visible at about an 80 degree elevation. What am I seeing?

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    $\begingroup$ Hi. Approximately what time was it "low in the east"? At what time was it about 80 degree elevation? And when you say low in the east, is that 10? 30? Where there other stars visible (at least before sunrise)? Did your bright object rise in synch with the stars? $\endgroup$ – JohnHoltz Dec 14 '18 at 3:16
  • $\begingroup$ NASA had a diagram showing upcoming events in the Northern sky this winter on their Picture Of The Day site if it's of any interest. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Dec 14 '18 at 11:26
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This is the planet Venus. It is always bright (when visible) but exceptionally so at the moment. Venus shows phases (similar to the moon) and is currently nearly half illuminated. That, combined with its relative closeness (about 75million km) is why it is particularly bright at the moment.

It is often visible in broad daylight, but can be difficult to spot because of the bright sky background.

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  • $\begingroup$ Easiest way to find it in daytime is to use starmap or skymap, or whatever it's called on your phone, and wave it around around until Venus appears. Then look in exactly that direction. I've spotted Venus in daytime purely by chance, but know where to look helps a lot. $\endgroup$ – Wayfaring Stranger Dec 15 '18 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ Another noteworthy aspect of venus is that you usually only see it around dusk & dawn because it is closer to the sun than we are. I.e., you'll never see it at midnight because our orbit is outside its orbit. Ditto for mercury, which is much less bright. $\endgroup$ – S. Imp Dec 15 '18 at 21:58

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