An Evening Conjunction

e Moon, Venus and Aldebaran
The Moon, Venus and Aldebaran join up for an evening conjunction

This evening will feature a a pretty set of planets and the Moon low in the sunset. Mercury, Mars, and a thin crescent Moon will be visible above the glow of the setting Sun.

The Moon will be a very thin sliver, a mere 4% illuminated. Look 7° above the Moon for Mars. Mercury will be harder to spot, about
7° below the Moon, closer to the sunset and a little north (to the right).

A Pretty Scene in Taurus

The Pleiades star cluster
The Pleiades star cluster M45

This evening, April 8th will offer a beautiful view with Mars and slim crescent Moon located between the Pleiades and the larger Hyades star clusters.

The Moon will be a slim crescent, only 14% illuminated. Mars will be 5° north (to the right) of the Moon, shining at +1.5 magnitude. Above and below will be the bright star clusters.

Mars and the Pleiades

Over the next week Mars will pass by the Pleiades star cluster. The bright planet and the cluster should make a pretty arrangement in the evening sky.

The Pleiades star cluster
The Pleiades star cluster M45

Tonight the planet is 4° from the cluster. By Saturday, March 30th, the planet will be just over three degrees away. Through the next week the planet and cluster will slowly drift apart again.

The evening of April 8th will offer a beautiful view with Mars and slim crescent Moon located between the Pleiades and the larger Hyades star clusters.

Venus in the Daytime

With the Moon only a half a degree from Venus this morning, it should be relatively easy to spot the brilliant planet high in the daytime sky.

Crescent Venus
Venus approaching inferior conjunction, 24Dec2013

Spotting planets in the daytime is not that difficult, both Jupiter and Venus are bright enough to seen in full daylight. Venus is currently near maximum brilliance at about -4.3 magnitude, easily bright enough to see in a clear sky. There are a few helpful hints to make this easier.

Today the Moon will make finding Venus quite easy. The planet is only half a degree above the Moon, just above the slim crescent.  Keep in mind that the Moon is half a degree across, the planet will be half a Moon diameter above the unlit side, easy to spot in the mid-morning sky.  Having the Moon nearby will not only aid in locating the Planet, it will also provide your eyes something to focus on.

The Moon and Venus

e Moon, Venus and Aldebaran
The Moon, Venus and Aldebaran join up for an evening conjunction

Tomorrow morning will feature a very close pairing of a 15% crescent Moon and a brilliant Venus just
½° apart. The pair will be situated between Jupiter above and Saturn rising below.

The Moon is close to ½° across, thus the planet will lie quite close to the tip of a beautiful, slim crescent. Shining at a brilliant -4.2 magnitude the planet is also a match for the bright Moon.

A beautiful lineup of Moon and planets should make it worth the effort to rise early and enjoy the pre-dawn spectacle.

The Moon and Venus

e Moon, Venus and Aldebaran
The Moon, Venus and Aldebaran join up for an evening conjunction

The year begins with a nice pairing of a 17% crescent Moon and a brilliant Venus just 2° apart before dawn tomorrow on New year’s Day. Jupiter and Mercury are also visible in the glow of sunrise below the pair.

The month of January will feature a clutch of bright planets in the dawn. Mercury will disappear into the sun’s glare to be replaced by Saturn emerging from superior conjunction mid-month, joining Venus and Jupiter.

The Moon and Venus

Tomorrow morning, July 20th, a pretty crescent Moon will be located close to a brilliant Venus. The Moon will be a slim 11% crescent a little over 4° from Venus shining at -4.0 magnitude. The pair will rise about three hours before sunrise a bit before 2am, look for the two above the brightening glow of dawn.

e Moon, Venus and Aldebaran
The Moon, Venus and Aldebaran join up for an evening conjunction