2017, December 14: Jupiter, Mars and Moon

JLH_1521

Bright Jupiter and Mars shine in a clearing sky this morning with the waning crescent moon — overexposed in the image — 4 degrees from Jupiter.  Mars continues its eastward march; it is 10.5 degrees from Jupiter this morning.  Compare Mars’ position this morning with its location on December 1.

Jupiter is heading toward its first conjunction of three with Zubenelgenubi in a week.

The moon is just a few days before its new phase.

The articles that follow provide details about the planets visible without optical assistance (binoculars or telescope):

Advertisements

2017, December 12: Jupiter, Mars, and Moon

Jupiter shines brightly this morning, along with Mars and the crescent moon, overexposed in this image.  Mars is marching eastward toward a January 7 conjunction with Jupiter.  This morning they are 11.4 degrees apart.

Jupiter is approaching its first of three  conjunctions with the star Zubenelgenubi next week (December 21).

This morning’s crescent moon is 24.3 days old.  Tomorrow the moon is near Mars then it appears near Jupiter.

The articles that follow provide details about the planets visible without optical assistance (binoculars or telescope):

2017, December 8: Jupiter, Mars and Moon

Just 30 days before their conjunction, bright Jupiter and Mars shine from the eastern sky this morning.  Mars is now well past Spica, 6 degrees to its upper right.  The separation between Jupiter and Mars this morning is 13 degrees.  Mars passes very closely to Jupiter on January 7.  Jupiter slowly moves eastward.  Its first conjunction, of its triple conjunction, with Zubenelgenubi is December 21.

Meanwhile, the 20-day-old moon is near the star Regulus this morning.  The waning gibbous moon is high in the sky, nearly 80 degrees from Jupiter.  The moon passes Mars on December 13 and Jupiter the next morning.

The articles that follow provide details about the planets visible without optical assistance (binoculars or telescope):

2018, March 18: Venus, Mercury and the Moon

Venus enters the evening sky early in 2018, setting later each night.  By March 1 Venus sets about 100 minutes after sunset, although before the end of twilight . Mercury has its best evening appearance with its greatest elongation on March 15.  On March 18, Mercury passes about 4 degrees from Venus with the moon 4 degrees beyond Venus.  The moon is just 35 hours past its new phase.

After the conjunction, Venus continues to set later; by the end of the March, it sets after twilight ends.  Mercury dashes back into the sun’s glare toward its inferior conjunction on April 1, reappearing in a difficult-to-see apparition in the morning sky.

The articles that follow provide details about the planets visible without optical assistance (binoculars or telescope):

2018, February 10: Mars-Antares Conjunction

During early 2018,  Mars rambles eastward among the stars, growing nearly 40% in brightness.  On the morning of February 10, Mars passes 5 degrees from the star Antares.  Jupiter is 17 degrees to the upper right of Mars and the waning crescent moon is 14 degrees to the lower left. (Mars passes  Jupiter on January 7.) Mars is the Roman name for this planet.  The Greeks called it Ares.  Antares is sometimes called the “Rival of Mars.”  When both are in the sky they resemble each other in brightness and color.  Another way to consider this is the prefix “Ant,”  sometimes meaning against: Antares = Against Mars.  Yet another way is to think that “Ant” can be replaced with “Not:” Not Mars.  This star is Antares, not Mars; it’s not Mars.

The articles that follow provide details about the planets visible without optical assistance (binoculars or telescope):

2017, November 19: Saturn and Moon

2018: The Evening Sky

This article summaries the planetary activity in the evening sky during 2018.  The articles that follow provide details about the planets visible without optical assistance (binoculars or telescope):

The chart shows the setting of planets, stars, and the moon (circles) compared to sunset.  This occurs in the western sky.  The three phases of twilight are graphed as well.

Conjunctions are displayed with squares.  Yellow triangles and the letters “GE” show the greatest elongation of Mercury or Venus.  A yellow diamond with the letters “GB” indicate the interval of Venus’ greatest brightness.

The rising of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are displayed.  This occurs in the east.  The opposition dates of those planets are also indicated.

It is important to emphasize that the chart shows setting times.  When the setting lines of two objects cross, it indicates that they set at the same time.  Because we have chosen planets and stars along the ecliptic, the virtual path along which the sun, moon and planets appear to move along, they can appear at conjunction or near each other.   This can occur within a few days of the date of coincident setting.  For the purposes of the chart, the conjunction is indicated on the setting time curve of the brighter planet.  Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, sets at about the same time as Aldebaran in Taurus.  The stars, though, are 46 degrees apart in the sky.  Sirius sets in the southwest and Aldebaran sets in the west-northwest.

The charts below summarize some of the evening events during the year.  This includes oppositions of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars.  Just before the opposition of Mars, the five naked eye planets can be seen at once.  Observers at more southerly latitudes see this event easier.

Jupiter and Venus do not have a conjunction.  At the end of September the planets are closest at 14 degrees.