December 12, 2017

AstroEvent: A Fine Meeting of Two Planets.

Jupiter & Venus the night of March 13th.

(Graphics created by the Author in Starry Night).

“What are those two large things in the night sky?” Back in 1999 I fielded almost daily questions such as this as Jupiter & Venus moved ever closer together in the evening sky, climaxing in a 9’ arc minute pairing on February 23rd. Get ready for such questions once more as the two planets approach each other again this week. Both are well placed high in the western sky at sunset 46° degrees east of the setting Sun and attaining a minimum separation of 3° degrees apart on March 13th, when dazzling Venus is north of Jupiter at 22:00 UT/18:00 EDT (Hey, we’re on ye ‘ole daylight savings time now; UKers will follow suit on March 25th!) [Read more...]

AstroEvent: 2xBright Planets in the Dawn Sky.

Jupiter, Venus, & Mercury+a 1 degree FOV on the morning of May 11th.

(Created by the author in Starry Night).

The planetary conjunctions reach a climax this week, with a close apparent pass of the two brightest worlds in our solar system, Jupiter and Venus in the dawn sky.  These worlds seem to meet on the morning of May 11th, with Jupiter shinning at magnitude -1.9 about 0.5 degrees from -3.8 magnitude Venus. This will place both within the same field of view using a low power eyepiece, and may illicit queries of “what are those two stars low in the sky?” [Read more...]