Jupiter and Venus This Morning, September 13, 2014

DSC01827

As Venus rapidly descends into brilliant sunlight, Jupiter shines from the eastern sky this morning as seen from the Chicago area.  (Click the image to see it larger.)  Venus is nearly 27 degrees to the lower left of Jupiter this morning.  The pair continues to separate at about 1 degree per day.  This week Venus rises about an hour before sunrise.  The difference is decreasing about 2 minutes each day.  By month’s end, Venus rises about 35 minutes before the sun.

For more about the planets

Venus, Jupiter and the Starry Morning, September 7, 2014

DSC01808

Brilliant Morning Star Venus and bright Jupiter shine in the eastern sky this morning as seen from the Chicago area. (Click the images to see them larger.)  Venus continues its rapid descent into bright sunlight.  This morning the two planets are 20 degrees apart and separating at about 1 degree each day.  The star Regulus is nearby, 2 degrees to the upper right of Venus.

cma-ori-tau-140907a

Meanwhile, several bright stars appear in the southeastern sky in the predawn sky.  Sirius is brightest on the image above, yet dimmer than Jupiter and Venus.  Sirius is about the same height as Jupiter but in the southeast.  Betelgeuse and Rigel, stars in Orion, appear above Sirius.  Notice their contrast in star color.  Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus, and the Pleiades star cluster are nearly overhead.  The image was composed of two separate images.

For more about the planets

September 2014 Sky Watching

Video Source

Sun

As our planet revolves around the sun, the sun appears to rise and set in different locations along the horizon and appears at different heights in the southern sky at noon.  Twice during the year, the sun rises precisely east and sets precisely west.  As seen from the equator at noon, the sun appears overhead.  The sun never appears at the zenith, directly overhead, as seen from the mid-northern latitudes.  The moment when the sun appears above the earth’s equator is know as the “equinox,” signalling a shift of seasons.  From the autumnal equinox (northern hemisphere), the sun appears farther south, lower in the sky at noon, and rises and sets south of east and west, respectively, until the next equinox in March.  The equinox occurs at 9:29 p.m. CDT on September 22.

sunlight_1409

This chart show the hours of daylight during September in the blue shaded area.  (Click all images in this article so see them larger.)  The red curve on the chart shows the daylight throughout the year. During the month, the Chicago area loses about 80 minutes of daylight.  The loss of daylight during the month is the backwards of the increase of daylight from March 10 through early April each year,

 Moon

Phase Date/Time Moonrise Moonset
First Quarter 09/02/14 (6:11 a.m.) 2:07 p.m. 12:09 a.m. (9/25)
Full Moon
(Harvest Moon)
09/08/14 (8:38 p.m.) 6:52 p.m. 7:04 a.m. (09/09)
Last Quarter 09/15/14 (9:05 p.m.) 11:38 p.m. 2:26 p.m. (09/16)
New Moon 09/24/14 (1:14 a.m.) 7:01 a.m. 6:54 p.m.
Times are Central Daylight Time for Chicago, Illinois, from US Naval Observatory calculations. (For mjb)

 Evening Sky

eve_planets_140901

Evening planets Mars and Saturn appear in the southwest as the month opens.  On the diagram above, a nearly first quarter moon appears in the region near Antares.  Mars and Saturn are to the lower right of the planet.  The two planets are about 5.5 degrees apart.

eve_planets_140915

By mid-month, the annual track of the Earth around the sun places the view lower in the southwest. Mars is moving east and by September 15, it is about 13 degrees east of Saturn and 9 degrees west of Antares. Watch Mars approach and pass Antares during the remaining days of this month.

merc_spica_140921

Mercury skirts along the western horizon during bright twilight during the month.  Use binoculars to look for it low in the west-southwest on September 21 when it is less than 1.5 degrees from Spica

mars_ant_140926-1001

Late in the month, Mars passes the star Antares.  While the pair appear to be close, within about 3 degrees of each other, Antares is over 25 million times farther away than Mars.  Mars shines by reflected sunlight and Antares is shining as a very distant star.  While it appears small in our sky, Antares is large enough to cover the orbits of the inner planets in our solar system.  The chart above shows the passing of the planet and the star,along with the appearance of the crescent moon.

Sometimes Antares is known as the “Rival of Mars” because it has nearly the same color and brightness.  The Greeks knew Mars as “Ares,” their celestial manifestation of their god of war.  So Antares can be interpreted as “Rival of Mars,” “The Opposite of Mars,” or “Not Mars.”  Antares is not Mars.

Morning Sky

Venus, the brilliant Morning Star appearing in the eastern predawn sky, is rapidly disappearing into the glow morning light this month.  On September 1, Venus rises 1 hour, 15 minutes before the sun.  By month’s end, it rises merely 34 minutes before sunrise.  The planet passes superior conjunction, on the far side of sun, late next month and moves into the evening sky.  For more about Venus as a morning star, see this article.

ven_jup_140902

Early in September, Venus and Jupiter are over 15 degrees apart and the separation grows about 1 degree — twice the apparent size of the full moon — each day.  The chart above shows them on the morning of September 2.  Find a clear horizon to see Venus.

 ven_reg_140905

Venus passes the star Regulus in bright twilight on the morning of September 5.  As the diagram above indicates, the pair appear low in the sky.  Find an observing spot with a clear eastern horizon.  Binoculars will help with the view.

As Venus disappears into the sun’s glow, Jupiter reigns as the bright Morning Star for the the remainder of 2014.  It shines in front of the dim stars of Cancer.  On September 1, it rises in the east-northeast at 4 a.m. and is about halfway up in the eastern sky as dawn approaches.

jup_lune_140920

The crescent moon is near Jupiter on the morning of September 20.  The pair is separated by about 6 degrees.

Solar System

sol_system_140915On the chart above, the planets visible without a telescope are shown along with Earth in their respective orbits around the sun as seen far above the solar system on September 15, 2014.  The planets move in a counterclockwise motion. The line between the sun and Earth indicate time, noon and midnight.  Venus and Jupiter appear on the morning side of the line.  Venus is approaching the “noon” line indicating that it is moving into the sun’s bright glow becoming invisible to us.  Mars, Saturn and  Mercury are in the evening sky.  Mercury always appears near the timeline making it difficult to view.  From Earth, it never appears in the midnight direction.

 

 

Venus, Jupiter, Orion and Sirius This Morning, August 28, 2014

DSC01746

Brilliant Morning Star Venus and bright Jupiter appear in the eastern sky this morning during twilight. (Click the images to see them larger.)  Venus is now well past Jupiter.  The planetary pair is 10 degrees apart.  Venus is rapidly moving to the far side of its orbit nearly behind the sun.  During the next six weeks it rises later and appears lower in the sky.  It passes superior conjunction and moves into the evening sky later this year.  Venus appears dimmer than Jupiter as it is clearing a cloud bank in the image and is obscured by low-level haze.  Meanwhile, Jupiter appears higher in the east each morning.   The pair continue to separate.
DSC01736

Orion and Sirius appear in the southeastern sky at the same time as Venus and Jupiter are in the east-northeast.   Sirius, the brightest star, appears near the horizon.  Jupiter, shining by reflected sunlight, appears about 40% brighter than Sirius.  Betelgeuse and Rigel, Orion’s brightest stars, above Sirius.

More about the planets:

Venus and Jupiter This Morning, August 15, 2014

DSC01724

With a bright moon approaching last quarter high in the south, brilliant Morning Star Venus and bright Jupiter shine in the eastern sky this morning.  (Click the image to see it larger.)  This morning the pair is separated by about 3 degrees.  During the next three mornings watch Venus meet Jupiter.  On August 18, they are 1/3 degree apart!  That’s less than the apparent diameter of the moon!

More about the planets:

Venus and Jupiter This Morning, August 13, 2014

DSC01714

Brilliant Venus and bright Jupiter appear low in the eastern sky this morning. (Click the image to see it larger.)  Jupiter is emerging from the sun’s glare as it passed conjunction on July 24.  Venus is rapidly fading into bright morning twilight.  Venus is rapidly moving eastward and overtakes Jupiter on August 18.  During the next few mornings the pair appear closer each morning. This morning they are about 5 degrees apart.

More about the planets:

Watching the Night Sky, August 2014

Video Source

In August the constellation Scorpius rides across the southern horizon.  This month, Saturn and Mars are in front of those distant stars.  Antares is the brightest star of the group, rivaling the color and brightness of Mars.  More about that next month.

Perseid Meteors

Besides the annual appearance of the Summer Milky Way and summer’s bright stars, the Perseid Meteors appear at mid-month. The meteoroids are bits of dust from Comet Swift-Tuttle.  The debris continues to orbit the sun.  During a few nights in mid-August, our planet intersects the orbital dust.  These meteoroids collide with the atmosphere and they vaporize as they zip into the atmosphere at over 30 miles a second.  From the ground we see a flash of light, a meteor or shooting star.   Perseids can be seen anywhere in the sky as they seem to emerge from a spot in the constellation that rises in the northeast early in the evening and appears nearly overhead a sunrise.  At their peak, observers may see one meteor a minute.  This year, the shower occurs at the time of the nearly full moon.  The shower peaks at 7 p.m. on August 12, during daylight hours in North America.  With the mornings of August 12 and August 13 illuminated by bright moonlight, only the brightest meteors are seen.  The best view of the event is from a reclining chair or a blanket.

Moon

NASA Photo

NASA Photo


Phase Date/Time Moonrise Moonset
First Quarter 08/03/14 (7:50 p.m.) 1:14 p.m. 11:55 p.m.
Full Moon 08/10/14 (11:09 a.m.) 7:00 p.m. (08/09) 5:47 a.m. (08/10)
Last Quarter 08/17/14 (7:26 a.m.) 11:26 p.m. (08/16) 1:54 p.m. (08/17)
New Moon 08/25/14 (9:13 a.m.) 6:15 a.m. 7:25 p.m.
Times are Central Daylight Time for Chicago, Illinois, from US Naval Observatory calculations. (For mjb)

Sun

aug_daylight_2014

The amount of daylight decreases nearly 75 minutes this month.  As our planet continues its journey around the sun, the sunrise and sunset points change along with the time of each event.  The shaded area above shows the decreasing daylight during August.  (Click the image to see it larger.)

Evening Sky.

Mercury moves to the far side of the sun (superior conjunction) on August 8 and rapidly moves into the evening sky.  From the northern hemisphere,  it sets within an hour of sunset and largely lost in the sun’s brilliance.  On the evening of August 27, the crescent moon appears near Mercury.  Observers will need a good horizon and binoculars to find them.

Mars and Saturn are easily seen in the southwest.

sat_mars_lune_140802-05

Early in the month, the moon moves through the region, making easy identification of the planets and bright stars in the region.  Here are the events:

  • August 2 — The moon is about 6 degrees to the upper left of the star Spica and 5 degrees to the right of Mars.  Saturn is nearly 13 degrees to the upper left of Mars.
  • August 3 — Tonight, the moon appears Mars, Saturn and the star Zubenelgenubi.  It is nearly 8 degrees from Mars and 5 degrees from Saturn.
  • August 4 — The moon appears 8.5 degrees to Saturn’s upper left.
  • August 5 — Tonight, the moon appears 7.5 degrees to the upper right of Antares, the brightest star in Scorpius.  While they are far apart, notice the brightness and color of the star and the planet.  Binoculars will help show the star colors.

Mars continues its rapid eastward motion compared to the background stars.

Mars_alib-140821

 

On August 21, Mars passes 1.5 degrees to the lower left of Zubenelgenubi.  Saturn is nearly 4 degrees to the upper left of Mars.

mars_sat_140825

A few nights later, Mars passes Saturn.  The two planets are separated by about 3.5 degrees.

mars_sat_lune_140830-31

 

The moon appears with the planets late in the month.  On August 30, the moon is about 9.5 degrees to the lower right of Saturn.  On the next evening moon is 3 degrees to the left of Saturn and 3 degrees to the upper right of Mars.

Morning Sky

Venus continues to dominate the morning skies.  During August , Venus rises closer to the sun.  On August 1, it rises about 2 hours before the sun, but by month’s end, 75 minutes before the sun.  It is moving toward superior conjunction in October and then moves into the morning sky.  For more about Venus as a morning star, see our posting.  The rising point of Venus along the eastern horizon continues to be north of sunrise.  Early in the month, Venus rises about 6 degrees north of the sunrise point.  By month’s end, the difference is 8 degrees.

ven_pol_cas_140807

On August, Venus passes 7 degrees from Pollux.

ven_pol_cas_040811

Its rapid orbital motion can be seen as it meets an imaginary line with Castor and Pollux on August 11.

ven_jup_140818

The month’s event is the close passing of Venus and Jupiter.  On the morning of August 18, the planets appear less than 1/3 degree apart.   While appearing close together, they are millions of miles apart.  So the solar system diagram below.  On the preceding and following mornings, the pair is separated by about 1 degree.  Unlike the slower moving Mars, Venus moves very rapidly against the background of stars, making many close groupings one day affairs.

atau_lune_140818

 

At the same time of the Venus-Jupiter conjunction, look higher in the sky for the moon.  It is nearly 4 degrees from Aldebaran.

ven_jup_lune_140823

Venus continues its rapid eastward motion with the moon catching the planetary pair on the morning of August 23.  On this morning they are over 5 degrees apart.

The morning sky during August provides interesting planetary pairings as well as the lunar-muted Perseid meteor shower.

 Solar System

The planets visible without a telescope as seen from about the solar system for August 15, 2014

The planets visible without a telescope as seen from about the solar system for August 15, 2014

 

The chart above shows the planets visible without a telescope as seen from north of the solar system on August 15, 2014.  (Click the image to see it larger.)  Venus and Jupiter appear on the morning sky of our planet.  Mars, Saturn, and Mercury are in the evening sky.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 473 other followers