October 23, 2017

Your Chance to see the “Moons”(?) of Venus!

Two degree FOV on January 13th… north is up.

(Created by the Author in Starry Night).

The planet Venus is going through some pretty fancy sky maneuvering this year. Starting off low to the south in dusk skies, it is about to shoot dramatically to high northerly declinations later this spring, and then dip down to a climatic transit of the Sun on June 5th-6th this summer. [Read more...]

AstroEvent: The Return of Saturn 2011.

Saturn as imaged March 19th, 2004 by the author.

 Two of unique planetary events are on our astro-radar this week. The first is an extremely close conjunction between brilliant Venus and faint Neptune on the morning of March 27th. At a mere 9’ minutes separation at 0100 UT, this will be one of the closest planetary conjunctions of the year. [Read more...]

11.12.10: The “Quasi-Moon” of Venus.

The curious orbit of 2002 VE68. (Created with JPL’s Ephemeris Generator).

   Up until about the mid-19th century, astronomers reported spurious sightings of a moon near our sister world, Venus. These sightings were copious enough to even warrant a name, Neith. Today, most of these observations have gone the way of the Vulcan’s and second Moon of Earth sightings as curiosities, chalked up to background stars or internal reflections in antique optics. Venus has no moon… but an interesting asteroid may vie for the next closest thing.

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Astro-Event of the Week; February 23rd-March 1st; A Close Conjunction.

Lots of happenings in this last week of February… the pick for the astro-event of the week was a toughie. I choose the Friday close conjunction/occultation of Venus and the Moon, as it’s one of the closest of the year! And it’s easily observed with the naked eye, and highly photogenic to boot!

[Read more...]