An Evening Comet

   Despite clouds along the northern horizon the comet was still easy to see with the naked eye. Well not really easy, easy, but it was certainly visible as an elongated fuzzy object. I was observing near a family using a telescope and they were the first to spot the comet. So, by using the pointer stars of the Big Dipper I looked down from the bowl toward the horizon and there was the comet. In one of the pictures below you can see the pointer stars near the top of the picture.
All pictures have been processed to adjust exposure, contrast, saturation, temperature, and all have been resized.
   While waiting for the sky to darken enough the ISS orbited overhead moving across the stars of the ‘Summer Triangle’ passing closely by the stars Vega in Lyra the Harp and Deneb in Cygnus the Swan (aka the ‘Northern Cross’).
   Adding to the viewing were the planets Jupiter and Saturn rising in the southeast along with the stars of Sagittarius and Scorpius, and the summer Milky Way.
   The morning after there were a few clouds blocking a view of the comet, however the waning crescent Moon and Venus were shining brightly and hard to miss.


   
   
   

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Give Mom a Diamond

   This Mother’s Day, weekend, or Sunday May 10th, give Mom or your favorite mother(s) a stellar treat by showing them a group of 4 stars making up a large star pattern known as the ‘Diamond of Virgo’.
   Step outside around mid-evening and look toward the east-southern horizon. Two of the four diamond stars are easily seen and may help serve as a guide to the other two diamond stars.
   Spica, a star in Virgo the Harvest Maiden, marks the lower corner of an *asterism known as ‘the Diamond of Virgo’. Look up to the left from Spica for the reddish star Arcturus in the kite-shaped constellation Bootes the Herdsman. Then look nearly straight up, the zenith, for the dimmest of the diamond stars, Cor Caroli in Canes Venatici, the Hunting Dogs. Then look down to the right for the star Denebola, the tail of Leo the Lion.
   

*An asterism is a group of stars forming a recognizable pattern using stars within a constellation or by combining stars from more than one constellation. For example, the Big and Little Dipper are asterisms.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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Waxing Gibbous Moon Passes Regulus

   Saturday and Sunday May 11-12th the waxing gibbous Moon will pass by the star Regulus, the ‘heart’ of Leo the Lion.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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Moon Conjunction with Regulus

   Tuesday November 2nd in the early hours before the Sun rises the 24-day old waning crescent Moon will be 2-3o from Regulus, the ‘heart’ of Leo the Lion.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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Mercury Passes the Heart of the Lion


   Early mornings this week, before the local time of sunrise, look toward the east for the innermost planet Mercury as it moves east passing within about 1-2o from the star Regulus. This animated graphic shows the morning skies on September 5th to the 7th at 5:15 am CDT

   
   
   
   Regulus marks the bottom of the backward question shape for Leo the Lion, and Regulus also represents the heart of Leo.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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A Sky Full of Planets

   Friday August 3rd all of the planets, except for Mercury, and some of the Dwarf Planets will be over the horizon during the hours before sunrise and the hours before sunset. The dwarf planets Pluto (14.2), Haumea (17.2), Makemake (16.7), and Eris(18.5) with low apparent magnitudes are too distant to be visible other than with larger aperture telescopes. However Dwarf Planet Ceres, at 8th magnitude could be visible with smaller telescopes and certainly with long exposure time imaging.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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Planet-A-Palooza plus the Moon

   This is one of those ‘best of times’ with regard to planet viewing. All of the visible planets are above the horizon although Mercury sets just before Mars rises. Times like this make it easy to visualize the ecliptic and its relationship with the planets. And our Moon, as it waxes toward full phase over the next several days, will pass by several planets and dwarf planets.

Click on a graphic to start a slide show.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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Moon – Spica Conjunction

click on graphic to see it larger
   Monday morning February 5th the 19-day old waning gibbous Moon will be within 6-7o from the blue-white star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Moon – Regulus Conjunction


   Thursday morning February 1st the waning gibbous Moon will be in conjunction with the star Regulus in Leo the Lion. Depending on your location the two will be anywhere from around 1o to at least 5.5o as is the separation from my location.


   And while outside remember to turn toward the south and east to see Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn stretched out above the horizon. The brighter stars, Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden and Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion are also arranged along the same ‘line’ as the three planets.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Go Fish!


   Monday evening January 22nd the 6-day old waxing crescent Moon will be in transit between two members of the ‘water-world’ part of our skies. The constellations Cetus the Whale and Pisces the Fishes will be the hosts for the Moon for the next few days. This animated graphic starts with Monday and is set to 1-day intervals ending on the 26th.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.