Venus at Superior Conjunction


   On Friday March 26th the inner planet Venus will have moved into superior conjunction – on the opposite side of the Sun from the Earth. Venus will reappear on the east side of the Sun later next month and start becoming visible in the evening skies over the western horizon.

   
   
   

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.

Morning and Evening Conjunctions

   Monday morning and evening, January 11th, offer an opportunity for catching a pair of conjunctions. Low over the eastern horizon at sunrise is the 27.7-day old very thin waning crescent Moon about 3-4o from the inner planet Venus.

   This could be a chance to see the Moon when it is about 24-hours from its new phase.

   Low in the western horizon at sunset is the ongoing triple conjunction between Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn. Monday evening will be the closest Mercury and Jupiter will be as Mercury continues moving eastward away from the two giant 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.


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January Moon at Descending Node


   Sunday January 10th the nearly 27-day old waning crescent Moon crosses the plane of the ecliptic moving south. This is known as the descending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path (dark green line) has with the ecliptic.


   On the date of the descending node the 26.7-day old thin waning crescent Moon will be over the eastern horizon at sunrise local time. Just appearing above the horizon is the inner planet Venus.

   
   
   
   
   

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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January Moon at Perigee

click on graphic to see it larger   Our Moon reaches perigee, (closest to Earth), for this orbit, on Saturday January 9th. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 28.8 Earth diameters, 228,292 miles (367,400 km) from the Earth.

   On the day of the perigee Moon the 25.5-day old thin waning crescent Moon will be over the eastern horizon an hour or so before the Sun rises. And just coming into view over the eastern horizon is the inner planet Venus.

   Does our Moon actually go around the Earth as this graphic shows? From our perspective on the Earth the Moon appears to circle around the Earth. However, in reality, the Moon orbits the Sun together with the Earth*
   *Click here to read my Scope on the Sky column “The Real Shape of the Moon’s Orbit”. (PDF)

   
   
   
   
   
   

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


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Venus and the Heart of the Scorpion

   Over the next several mornings the inner planet Venus will be passing by the ‘Heart’ of Scorpius the Scorpion, the reddish star Antares. The closest the two will be is on the 23rd when Venus and Antares will be 5-6o from each other. A conjunction between Venus and Antares is a regular event in that both are near the ecliptic and will, at times during Venus’s orbit, appear close and other times not as close.

   This animated graphic is set to 1-day intervals and shows the movement of Venus relative to Antares between December 20th to the 30th.

   
   
   

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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Waning Crescent Moon – Venus Conjunction


   Saturday morning December 12th the 27-day old thin waning crescent Moon will be about 3-4o from the inner planet Venus.

    Despite the age and how thin the crescent Moon is the Moon still shines with an apparent magnitude of -9.8 compared with the -3.9 apparent magnitude of Venus. The two should make for good viewing through binoculars.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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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From Spica to Venus

   Thursday morning December 10th the 25-day old waning crescent Moon will be passing by the blue-white star Spica in the constellation Virgo the Harvest Maiden, coming within about 5o from Spica.

   Over the next two days the Moon will continue moving eastward and waning to an increasingly thin crescent shape. On the morning of the 12th the even thinner crescent Moon will be about 3o from the brightly shining inner planet Venus.
   New Moon is on the 14th just in case you were wondering.

   
   
   
   
   
   

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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Inner Planets on the Move

   This past month, November, the inner planets Mercury and Venus were very visible in the early morning skies before sunrise. Both of the planets were at or near their respective western elongation. Venus was there during August and Mercury reached its western elongation on November 10th.
   What I wanted to capture was the daily change in the position of Venus as it passed the star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden. Venus moves about 1.6o each day so its eastward motion should be obvious after a day or so. It was – it is!. Mercury, if you are wondering, moves about 4o each day.
   Both inner planets were somewhere around their maximum separation from the Sun – as we see it the inner planet is to the right side of the Sun, or toward the west.
   The series of pictures were taken from two locations near my house. One is from an empty lot near U.S. Highway 50 looking east. The other pictures are from somewhere along the street I live on! The first picture was taken at Legacy Park and includes the ISS orbiting over my location.


   
   
   

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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Venus – Spica Conjunction


   Over the next few days the inner planet Venus will be moving eastward as it passes the blue-white star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden. This animated graphic is set to 1-day intervals and shows the morning sky from November 16th to the 20th.


   On Monday morning November 16th Venus will be the closest to Spica for a conjunction that has the two separated by about 3-4o. A few degrees, 13o, further east (lower) is the other inner planet Mercury.

   
   
   

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 – Inner Planets & 1 Star

   The waning crescent Moon, as it moves eastward toward new Phase on the 14th, passes by the two inner planets Venus and Mercury. Yesterday the Moon was west from the planets and after 24 hours of revolution the Moon has moved to between the two planets this morning.

   
   
   

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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