December 23, 2014

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...]

Astro-Challenge: Spot a “Dark Asteroid.”

The path of 10 Hygiea during the month of May 2011.

(Created by the Author in Starry Night & Paint).

This week, the planetary conjunctions continue in the dawn skies, one of the better southern hemisphere meteor showers revs up, and we’ll turn you attention to an asteroid you’ve never heard of, but should have. [Read more...]

AstroEvent: 4x Planets, 1xMoon, and a 12° FOV!

Looking eastward May 1st about 30 minutes before sunrise. (Created by the Author using Starry Night).

Where have all the planets gone? Four of the five classical naked eye planets are about to reveal themselves this week in a splendid fashion. As Venus sinks morning by morning towards the horizon, expect Jupiter, Mars and Mercury to emerge low in the dawn sky. The action culminates the weekend of April 30th-May 1st, when the waning crescent Moon approaches the grouping… use brilliant Venus as a visual “anchor” to guide your eyes to the fainter planets. On what date will you be able to spot each planet from your location? [Read more...]