2016, July 13-16: Moon and Planets

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The moon passes Mars and Saturn during mid-July, 2016.  The chart above shows the planets and the star Antares during the four evenings.  Mars appears as a bright reddish star low in the south as the sky darkens.  It is distinctly, about 3 times, brighter than Saturn, nearly 17 degrees to the left of Mars.  The star Antares is 6 degrees to the lower right of Saturn.  Mars is nearly 10 times brighter than Antares.  The orientation of these three celestial lights remains nearly the same throughout the four nights.  There are the events of the evenings displayed in the chart that is displayed for the Chicago area at 9:30 p.m. CDT, 70 minutes after sunset.  Check your local sunset times to estimate similar observations for your location.

  • July 13:  The moon, in the waxing gibbous phase, is nearly 12 degrees to the upper right of Mars.
  • July 14:  The separation between the moon and Mars is 7 degrees.
  • July 15:  The nearly  12-day-old moon is 3 degrees to the upper right of Saturn.
  • July 16:  Just two days before its full phase, the moon is 11 degrees to the left of Saturn.

2016, August 4: 5 Planets in Evening Sky


During August 2016 the five naked eye planets can be seen in the south and western sky, although binoculars and a clear western horizon are needed to make the initial observations of Venus and Mercury..  Venus is slowly emerging from the sun’s glare.  The chart above shows the planets on the evening of August 4, because the moon will help us locate Mercury and Venus.  Locate a clear horizon looking west.  Venus stands about 3 degrees above the western horizon.  While it is bright in the twilight, binoculars may be needed to first locate it.  A thin crescent moon appears 10 degrees to the upper left of Venus, with Mercury  2 degrees to the upper right of the Moon.  Jupiter is higher to the upper left of the moon (14 degrees).  Saturn and Mars are in the southern sky, near the star Antares.

The five planets can be seen throughout early to mid-August before Mercury disappears into the sun’s glare.

Here is our Youtube video explaining the visibility of these planets.

2016, July 8: Jupiter & Moon

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This evening (July 8), the moon appears near the bright planet Jupiter.  The chart above shows the pair in the western sky at 9:30 p.m. CDT as seen from the Chicago area.  Jupiter and the moon are separated by about 4.5 degrees.  The bright star Regulus is to the lower left of the moon.

2016: June 11, Jupiter & Moon

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That bright star near the moon this evening is Jupiter.  It is 4 degrees to the upper right of our lunar companion.  The bright star Regulus is 14.5 degrees to the lower right of Jupiter.

2016: June 6, Mars, Jupiter & Saturn

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Mars and Saturn shine from the southeastern sky this evening as seen from the Chicago area.  Mars appears as a red-orange star low in the sky.  Saturn, just past opposition, appears to the left of the Red Planet.  The star Antares appears nearby,

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Meanwhile, brilliant Jupiter shines from the western sky near the star Regulus.

2016: Mars Retrograde

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This chart shows the retrograde motion of Mars during 2016.  Opposition occurred on May 22.  Mars resumes its apparent eastward motion among the stars on June 30.

2016, May 22: Mars at Opposition

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Mars at Opposition 2016.

For more about Mars at opposition see this posting.

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