Tag Archives: skywatching

Venus Flirts with Mercury

Well, we missed this because of the “winter storm.” Anyway, they will still be very close for a few days.

From Sky and Telescope:

Saturday, January 10

Venus and Mercury are closest together this evening in twilight, 0.7° apart. Look low in the southwest about 45 minutes after sunset, as shown here. They’ll stay within 1° of each other through Monday.


– See more at: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/weeks-sky-glance-january-9-17/?et_mid=714345&rid=247497481#sthash.wEynlxv7.dpuf

Wanna See a Comet?

Comet Lovejoy is bright enough to see with your eyes alone. It’s a beautiful blue-green. You probably get the best view with binoculars but if you don’t have binoculars, use averted vision. That is, don’t look right at it but use your peripheral vision just off-center from where you are looking. Look high in the south before the waning moon rises. Here is a chart showing where to look on specific days in January.


Here’s the Skinny on the Moon and Mercury


Here in Coupland, the eastern sky is pretty dark. No major towns are close. It makes for some great skywatching!

From Sky & Telescope:
A challenge observation: as dawn brightens on Wednesday morning the 22nd, binoculars or a telescope may already show Mercury below the thin crescent Moon very low in the east, as shown here. Look about a half hour before sunrise. Mercury is not only low but faint: a tiny crescent only magnitude 2.1. If you succeed, this may be the thinnest you ever see Mercury as a crescent: about 10% sunlit.

Moongazers Meet Planetgazers on Saturday and Monday

Publisher’s Note: My moniker on the Internet is planetgazer for reasons that should be obvious to my readers by now but I could have just as easily chosen moongazer. Well, moongazer, if you’re out there, I’ll be with you in spirit this week.

From “This Week’s Sky-at-a-Glance” at skyandtelescope.com:

Saturday, July 5

First-quarter Moon. The half-lit Moon is quite close to Mars as seen from North America. The Moon occults (hides) Mars during daylight for Hawaii and at dusk or night in parts of Latin America.


Monday, July 7

Now the waxing gibbous Moon shines closely under Saturn in the evening (for North America), as shown at right. For southern South America, the Moon occults Saturn.


Don’t Miss the Morning Planets!

From SpaceWeather.com:

MORNING PLANETS: If you wake up before sunrise this weekend, look east. Three planets are preceding the sun into the dawn sky: Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury. Heiko Ulbricht sends this Saturday morning snapshot from Freital, Saxony, Germany:

“The planets and the crescent Moon were a wonderful sight this morning,” says Ulbricht. “It’s going to be a fantastic sky show in the mornings ahead as the Moon glides past the planets one after another.”

On Sunday morning, August 4, the narrowing crescent will appear to the right of Mars. On Monday morning, August 5, the Moon will pass Mercury in deep-red twilight. Binoculars might be required for the Mercury passage. Warning: Do not point the optics at the rising sun. Set your alarm for dawn and enjoy the show!


Want to Get Into the Occult?

No, not THAT kind . . . the astronomical kind. This is from Sky & Telescope’s online feature called This Week’s Sky at a Glance:

Friday, July 19

Telescope users looking at the gibbous Moon from most of North America tonight can watch the Moon’s invisible dark limb creep up to and occult the 4.4-magnitude star Xi Ophiuchi. Only Florida and the West miss out.

Some times of the star’s disappearance: in western Massachusetts, 12:38 a.m. EDT; Atlanta, 12:32 a.m. EDT; Chicago, 11:10 p.m. CDT; Winnipeg, 10:50 p.m. CDT; Kansas City, 11:00 p.m. CDT; Austin, 11:07 p.m. CDT; Denver, 9:39 p.m. MDT. Start watching early.

I will be out with my telescope. Seeing an occultation is very cool. Let’s hope it’s clear!

Here is an image of the Moon grazing the star Spica.

Here is an image of the Moon grazing the star Spica.