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In the past mornings I have used to get out before sunrise for a stroll, to get some exercise while not meeting other people.

I live in Eindhoven (NL), and I get out of home at around 5:30 AM, when the Sun is not yet risen, the sky is just about to start getting brighter.

At about 30-40 degrees to the right from the rising Sun point, about 20 degrees above the horizon, I see a bright white star.

About 5 degrees to the left of this star, I see two reddish objects, about 2 degree apart from each other, much more faint than the other star.

Which stars are they? I have tried to find them in a sky map, but haven't been able to find anything resembling them.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the detailed observation. If you have a star map showing the ecliptic, any unplotted, bright, starlike object near it is likely a planet. $\endgroup$ – Mike G Apr 8 at 17:16
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My interpretation would be that these are the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.

The bright star is Jupiter. It is rather lower than 20 degrees above the horizon, it is at about 10 degrees, but rising. The two other stars, one brighter than the other are Saturn (brighter) and Mars. Mars is really red, Saturn may be reddened by being low in the sky. Saturn is about 5 degrees East of Jupiter and Mars is a couple of degrees more.

To get your bearings, locate the "summer triangle" of Vega, Deneb and Altair. This triangle (currently) points towards the area containing the three planets. (Draw a line between Deneb and Vega, and through Altair and continue on a great circle in the sky)

I used Stellarium to view a simulated sky from Eindhoven at this time.

Stellarium rendering of SE horizon at dawn

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, Mike for the image. $\endgroup$ – James K Apr 8 at 22:20

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