1 March 2017. The Moon returns at the beginning of March in the form of a slender waxing crescent in the western sky after sunset. It’s joined by the fading but still respectably bright planet Mars and the unmistakable silver-white radiance of the planet Venus. Uranus lies 2º west of Mars and reveals itself easily in a pair of binoculars. These three planets are a study in contrasting brightness. Venus shines at magnitude -4.6, Mars at magnitude +1.3, and Uranus at magnitude +5.7. The Moon today has a total magnitude of -9.0. Each full step in magnitude is a factor of 2.512 in brightness [Read more…] about The Sky This Month – March 2017Share This:
Happenings in the night sky and information about astronomical events.
2 February 2017. Look for the bright white star Spica in the constellation Virgo and the much brighter planet Jupiter in the southeastern sky well before sunrise. The pair lie within about two finger widths of each other for most of the month.
2-3 Feb. The dwarf planet Ceres lies about 1º south of the waxing crescent Moon. Some observers across southern Europe, North Africa, Central America, and northern South America will see the little world pass behind the Moon at roughly 02:00 UT on Feb. 3. Ceres shines at about 9th magnitude, easy to see in binoculars or a telescope, although the glare of the Moon makes it a little harder to spot. Ceres is the largest of the dwarf planets in the asteroid belt. It’s a nearly round world with a diameter of 950km. That makes it the 33rd largest object in the solar system [Read more…] about The Sky This Month – February 2017Share This:
“And now we welcome the New Year, full of things that have never been.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke
1 January 2017. Begin the new year by counting your blessings, then strolling out after sunset to examine the dazzling sight of a slender crescent Moon within 5° of Venus in the southwestern sky [Read more…] about The Sky This Month – January 2017Share This:
It’s an excellent month for stargazers, so I encourage you to take some time out of your busy holiday preparations to enjoy the night sky. There are two respectable meteor showers, and the Moon passes close to five major planets during the month. Brilliant Venus dominates the western sky after sunset, while Jupiter outshines every star as it continues to brighten in the eastern sky before sunrise. And on the last day of 2016, Neptune comes within 0.1º of the planet Mars, the closest approach of these two planets in more than 700 years! Here’s what to see in the night sky this month… [Read more…] about The Sky This Month – December 2016Share This:
The sky this month brings a splendid array of planets, all of which are attended by the Moon at one time or other. November also brings two meteor showers and the grand and starry constellations Taurus, Auriga, and Orion rising one after the other in the eastern sky. Here’s what to see in the sky this month… [Read more…] about The Sky This Month – November 2016Share This: