2 August. Look for sand-colored Saturn to the south and west of the waxing gibbous Moon, and north and east of the red-orange star Antares. Well past opposition, the planet is still a dazzling sight in a small telescope all month. Its rings are tilted near maximum, about 27º, the greatest in 15 years, and the planet’s disk is still a respectable 18″ across. If you’ve got a telescope, make some time to see Saturn this month. It’s a beautiful sight [Read more…] about The Sky This Month – August 2017Share This:
Happenings in the night sky and information about astronomical events.
1 July. First Quarter Moon, 00:51 UT
1 July. The first quarter Moon joins Jupiter and the bright star Spica in the southwestern sky. Jupiter is west of Spica and much brighter. This is more or less the last month to get a good view of the planet as it continues to fade, grow smaller, and appear lower in the southern or southwestern sky during July. It’s still brighter than any star and a beautiful sight in a small telescope.
3 July. Earth reaches aphelion, its furthest point from the Sun in its orbit. Today the planet lies 152,092,504 km (94,505,901 miles) from the Sun [Read more…] about The Sky This Month – July 2017Share This:
1 June 2017. First Quarter Moon, 12:42 UT
3 June. A waxing gibbous Moon lies about 2º from the planet Jupiter. For most of June, the big planet lies a fist’s width to the west of the bright star Spica in the constellation Virgo. It’s two months past opposition, so the planet is growing smaller and fainter, yet at magnitude -2.3 to -2.o it still far outshines any star. The planet has been retrograding, which means it’s moving westward each night against the stars. On June 9, it resumes eastward motion once again and moves closer to Spica for the next couple of months. [Read more…] about The Sky This Month – June 2017Share This:
2 May. Look for Venus in the eastern sky about an hour before sunrise. The planet in early May is preposterously bright, shining at about magnitude -4.7, enough to cast a shadow in very dark conditions. At the beginning of the month, in a telescope, you see about 1/4 of the planet’s face lit by the Sun. By the end of the month, you see the planet half lit as it dims slightly to magnitude -4.5. A truly beautiful ‘Morning Star’.
3 May. First-Quarter Moon, 02:47 UT [Read more…] about The Sky This Month – May 2017Share This:
1 April. Mercury reaches its greatest eastern elongation at 19° from the Sun. In the northern hemisphere, the speedy little planet is at its highest altitude of the year. Look for Mercury low over the western horizon about half an hour after sunset. The planet shines at a respectably bright magnitude -0.2 and, in a telescope, reveals a half-lit disk. Slightly fainter and much redder Mars lies about a fist’s-width above Mercury. Over the next week, you will see Mercury plunge back towards the horizon as it quickly makes its way around the Sun [Read more…] about The Sky This Month – April 2017Share This: