A Lunar Conjunction with a Dwarf Planet


   Thursday evening March 2nd watch for the 4.5-day young waxing crescent Moon to be about 2o away from Dwarf Planet Ceres. Seeing Ceres with an apparent magnitude of around 8 may be difficult when the Moon is this close, especially using binoculars. 2march-tele
   However with a telescope Ceres should resolve into a small disc shape as this simulated view with a 25mm eyepiece on a 6″ reflector shows. There are two 6th magnitude stars on either side of Ceres that could be used as reference points for Ceres location if you are following the Dwarf Planet as it moves along its orbit.

   
   
   
   
   

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.

Crescent Moon, Venus, and Comet Encke


   Tuesday evening February 28th the 2.5-day young waxing crescent Moon will be about 9o from the inner planet Venus and about the same distance from Comet Encke (2P).
   Mars and Venus as well as three Dwarf Planets are also above the horizon at sunset local time as the graphic is showing.
   
   
   

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.

ISS Last Night

   Last evening was my first opportunity to see the ISS in at least a month so I quickly set up my camera aiming it toward Venus and Mars. However my aim was off by quite a bit so I hurriedly readjusted the camera, 3 times, to capture these pictures. All were taken with ISO 800; F5; 18mm; 2.5 second. Pictures were stacked, merged, using Starstax.

   
   
   

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 Cruises Past Planets and Stars

feb5-bino
   Over the next several evenings the Moon, as it orbits toward the east and waxes from crescent to first quarter phase will pass by several planets, dwarf planets, and star clusters. On the evening of February 5th the Moon will be close to the reddish star Aldebaran, the ‘eye’ in the face of the angry bull, Taurus. This should make for a nice view with binoculars or low power eyepiece when the Moon will sort of overlay the stars of the open star cluster the Hyades.

   These two animated graphics show the sky as viewed from Quito Ecuador at 0o latitude, and my home latitude of approximately 40o North. They show the sky at one day intervals starting with February 1st and ending with February 5th.


   
   
   

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.

Mars and Uranus at Heliocentric Conjunction

   Greetings from San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. For the next 3 weeks I will be posting with the perspective of viewing the sky from between around 42o-48o south latitude, and then from the equator while in Quito Ecuador.

   On the evening of January 13th both planets, Mars (23o) and Uranus (23o), will be at about the same heliocentric longitude or at heliocentric conjunction. While they may share nearly identical heliocentric longitude coordinates they do not have the same right ascension with Uranus about 2 hours of R.A. west from Mars. Both Mars and Uranus are visible over the southwestern horizon a couple of hours after sunset, although it may prove to be difficult to see Uranus with an apparent magnitude of nearly 6.0.

   
   
   

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 Moons Uranus

   Thursday January 5th the just past first quarter Moon, a waxing gibbous Moon, is close to the outer planet Uranus, and also two of the Dwarf Planets. But close only in the sense that the three are in the same direction, or line of sight. Uranus as the next-to-last outermost of the 8 planets is 19.8 Au and has an apparent magnitude of 5.8. Ceres and Eris, while both are Dwarf Planets, are at very nearly the opposite ends of the solar system. Ceres is within the asteroid belts at a distance of 2.5 AU and has an apparent magnitude of 7.64. Eris, on the other hand is 96 AU from the Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 18.6.

   
   
   

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.

Mars and Neptune Conjunction, inlcuding the Moon and Venus


   A previous post described the daily motion of Mars as it moves toward the planet Neptune. Well Monday evening January 2nd the planets Mars and Neptune, and our Moon (a 5-day old waxing crescent Moon) will all fit within the field of view of binoculars with Mars and Neptune separated by about 1.5o.

   In that post I had also mentioned that were Neptune observed from the surface of Mars then Neptune would be starting its retrograde motion. Actually I was not entirely correct as I was basing this on how the two planets looked from Earth rather than Neptune as seen from Mars. Compare the distance between the Earth and Mars and the difference between the orbital speed of the two planets. Then consider Mars and Neptune where there is a greater difference between the orbital speeds of Mars and Neptune as well as the distance between the Mars and Neptune then there is between the Earth and Mars.

   What this means is that Neptune, as viewed from Mars, will not actually begin to retrograde until around the middle of June.

   
   
   

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.