2017, September 20: Venus and Regulus

 

Brilliant morning star Venus passes about one-half degree (the apparent diameter of the moon) from Regulus this morning.  The reflected sunlight from Venus provides a clear contrast of color with Regulus.   Regulus is about 80 light years away and its color indicates that its surface temperature is about 20,000 degrees F.

Venus outshines Regulus by about 100 times this morning.

Venus and Regulus are in conjunction again on July 9, 2018 when they appear in the western evening sky.  The separation is about 1 degree nearly twice the distance of this morning’s conjunction.

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2017, September 18: Venus, Moon, Mercury and Mars

Brilliant morning star Venus is joined by the 28-day-old moon this morning. The star Regulus appears about 1.5 degrees below the bright planet. Elusive Mercury appears low in the sky. It is easily viewed without binoculars. Dimmer Mars about 1.5 degrees above Mercury and it is emerging from the sun’s glare. It appears near Venus on October 5th.  (Click the image to see Mars easier.)

Notice the earthshine on the moon.  The night portion of the lunar surface is gently illuminated by reflected sunlight from our planet.

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2017, September 17: Venus and Moon

Brilliant morning star Venus shines in the eastern sky with the crescent moon this morning, The nearly 27 day-old moon is about 6.5 degrees to the upper right of Venus.

Notice the earthshine on the moon this morning.  Sunlight reflected from our planet gently illuminates the moon’s night.

2017, September 15: Venus and Sirius

Venus and Sirius shine from the eastern sky this morning.  Venus is the brightest planet and Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky.  Venus is about 6 times brighter than Sirius.  The waning crescent moon (25.5 days old) shines higher in the sky with the stars Procyon, Castor, and Pollux.

The orange glow that shows near the horizon is from the accumulated scattered light from street lights, commonly called light pollution.

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2017, September 15: Venus, Mercury, and Mars

Venus, Mercury and Mars appear in the predawn skies this morning.  Brilliant Venus continues to dominate eastern sky before sunrise.  The star Regulus appears about 5.5 degrees to the lower left of Venus.  Elusive Mercury appears low in the sky.  The image above demonstrates the need for a clear horizon when looking for Mercury.  Mars, currently dim, appears about 1 degree to the lower left of Mercury.  Click the image to see Mars.  The Red Planet is slowly emerging from the sun’s glare.  Venus and Mars are in conjunction on October 5.

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2017: Morning Conjunctions

2017, September 11: Venus and Mercury

Brilliant Venus continues to dominate the predawn eastern skies during late summer.  Elusive Mercury appears low in the sky as dawn approaches.  For the next few mornings it appears near the star Regulus.  (Click the image to see Regulus and Mercury.)  As in this indicated in this image, find a clear horizon to see Mercury.  Binoculars help find the planet.  Mercury rises about 1.5 hours before sunrise, about the time that morning twilight begins.

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