Four of the five most-visible planets are bunched together in the morning sky, creating beautiful patterns along the eastern horizon at dawn for the next few weeks. Each day the four planets change slightly in position, with bright Venus guiding your eyes to the right spot on the horizon where you can see these four points of light. Use binoculars to find all four planets - Mercury and Mars are much fainter than Jupiter and Venus - and use this amazing animation on the Sky & Telescope website to find the exact pattern as it changes each day. In San Francisco, you will want to look for this between 5:00 and 5:30 am, before the glare of the sunrise washes out the view of the planets.
In 2005 I began writing a column for the San Francisco Waldorf School newsletter called "The Urban Astronomer." I started this blog in 2007 as a place to archive my articles and to offer additional insights on the night sky - even if you live in a big city. In 2008 I became an occasional guest on the KFOG Morning Show, and more recently on KALW and KGO. Archived shows are posted on the blog. I conduct private star parties for special events and corporate events. Contact me for details.