If you see a bright "star" not shown on your planisphere (star wheel), it's probably a planet. The planets always stay in or near the zodiacal constellations, which straddle the ecliptic
(shown as a green line on Sky & Telescope
's Star Wheel and a blue line on our Night Sky
For help in identifying which planet you've found, we've provided a listing of which zodiacal constellations host Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn from now through 2025. (Mercury is always too near the Sun for easy observation, and Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are too faint to be seen without binoculars or a telescope and a more detailed star map.)
To read or print the file, you'll need Adobe Reader software, which is available for free for computers running Windows, Mac OS, or Unix. If you don't already have a copy, visit Adobe's Web site to download the version appropriate to your operating system. For more information, or if you have trouble opening the PDF, consult the help file linked below.
If you don't already have a planisphere an essential tool for naked-eye stargazing click on the following links to learn more about the products available from Sky Publishing:
Clear skies, and happy hunting!