The Moon, Venus and Mars

The Moon, Venus and Jupiter
A morning conjunction of the three brightest objects in the night sky, the Moon, Venus and Jupiter on the morning of July 15, 2012, the Pleiades star cluster can be seen at the top
This evening a pretty crescent Moon will slide past Venus and Mars in the sunset. The Moon will be a slim 16% crescent a little over 5° from Venus shining at -4.6 magnitude.

Look for the trio in the western sky this evening just after sunset, it will be nearly impossible to overlook. You have plenty of time to enjoy the show as the trio will not set until around 9:30pm.

The Moon, Venus and Mars

The Moon, Venus and Jupiter
A morning conjunction of the three brightest objects in the night sky, the Moon, Venus and Jupiter on the morning of July 15, 2012, the Pleiades star cluster can be seen at the top
This evening a pretty crescent Moon will be located close to a brilliant Venus. The Moon will be a slim 9% crescent a little over 11° from Venus shining at -4.6 magnitude.

The Moon is approaching the pair of Venus and Mars, tomorrow will see the trio in close proximity, forming a triangle of about 5° separation.

Venus and Mars

The Moon, Venus and Jupiter
A morning conjunction of the three brightest objects in the night sky, the Moon, Venus and Jupiter on the morning of July 15, 2012, the Pleiades star cluster can be seen at the top
Over the coming weeks Venus and Mars will dance in the sunset. Close approach will occur on February 2nd, with the pair about 5° apart. They will remain in close proximity in the sky for much of February, finally disappearing into the glare of sunset around the end of the month.

On the evening of the 31st, a pretty crescent Moon will join this dance in the sunset, forming a triangle about 5° across. A 16% illuminated crescent moon with make a lovely trio with the bright planets.

The Moon and Venus

Luna & Venus
A thin crescent Moon and Venus in the sunset, photo by Maureen Salmi, used with permission
This evening a pretty crescent Moon will be located close to a brilliant Venus. The Moon will be a slim 12% crescent a little over 5° from Venus shining at -4.3 magnitude.

Look for the two as the evening sky begins to darken, they will not be difficult to find. Tomorrow the Moon will have moved 7° to the east of Venus.

Conjunction

Only once before have I seen Jupiter and Venus this close, many years ago. Being close enough to fit in the same eyepiece field is quite interesting, particularly with enough magnification to see the moons and planet details well.

If you have not been paying attention the evening planet dance is in full swing, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter all in close attendance.

This evening was the close approach of Jupiter and Venus. I set up a telescope briefly to capture the conjunction. More than a little overexposed, but you can see the moons of Jupiter this way…

Venus and Jupiter
Venus and Jupiter in conjunction on Aug 27, 2016. The star at lower right is Beta Virginis

The Moon and Jupiter

This evening at sunset a nice crescent Moon and the bright planet Jupiter will be quite close. As sunset around 19:00 the two will be separated by a mere 46′, just a little over the width of the full Moon. The two should make a very attractive pair as they sit above the glow of sunset.

Keep an eye out for Mercury and Venus closer to the horizon. At 19:00 Venus will be 9° above the horizon with Mercury a bit higher at 14°. The Moon and Jupiter will be higher yet around 25°. Since Mars and Saturn are also visible in the southern sky all five naked eye planets will be visible.

The Moon and Venus

A very thin crescent Moon will pair with Venus in the sunset this evening. The Moon will be about 3.5° from Venus, well above the glow of sunset, perfectly placed to create a nice view. With sunset occurring at 18:58 HST, the pair will be 10° above the horizon at 19:00 and will set almost an hour later at 19:48 HST. The Moon will be quite thin, only 1.9% illuminated and only 1.3 days old. Creating a triangle with the pair of solar system bodies, the bright star Regulus will be 2° above Venus, while Mercury will be 8° higher in the sky. Jupiter will also be visible higher in the evening sky making for a nice lineup of bright planets.

Earthshine
A young crescent Moon, overexposed to show the remainder lit by reflected light from the Earth.

Mercury and Venus

The two inner planets will rendezvous in the sunset over the next few days. Venus appeared in the sky a few days ago having just emerged from superior conjunction. Mercury will emerge quickly from the solar glare to pass Venus only 10° from the Sun. This conjunction will be quite low and a bit in the bright glow of sunset, perhaps somewhat challenging to spot.

This evening the two will be about 2° apart, and will quickly converge. On July 16th the two will be only 32′ apart, about the diameter of a full Moon. After that the two will quickly separate. Interestingly on the 17th the pair will pass through the M44 star cluster, though perhaps it will still be a bit bright to appreciate this dimmer cluster.

Late in the month this trio of bright planets will continue their dance in a set of conjunctions that lasts into September. The highlight will be on August 27 when Jupiter and Venus will pass within 12′ of each other while Mercury is only 5° away.

Moon and Mercury
The Moon appears as a thin crescent beside the planet Mercury, photo taken from the summit of Mauna Kea on 12Oct2007

Mercury Transit Reminder

Just a quick reminder that mercury will transit the face of the Sun tomorrow morning. You can read full details in my earlier post or check out a decent transit calculator. For observer in Hawaii the transit will already be well underway at sunrise, making this a set-the-alarm-early exercise. My telescope and solar filter are already loaded… Are yours?

Transit of Mercury
The 2006 transit of Mercury, photographed with a 90mm telescope and a Canon 20Da

The Moon, Mercury, and Venus

Tomorrow morning a beautiful trio of two planets and the Moon will rise in the dawn. Venus will rise first at 5:02HST, followed shortly thereafter by the Moon and Mercury nearly together. The trio will form a neat triangle about 6° across. The planets will rise an hour before the light of dawn spreads across the sky and nearly two hours before sunrise.