Jupiter at Superior Conjunction

Jupiter 14Apr2016
Jupiter on April 15, 2016

Today Jupiter passes through superior conjunction, rounding the far side of the Sun as seen from our earthbound vantage point.

Jupiter will re-emerge in the dawn sky towards the end of the January. Look for the planet low in the glow of dawn, rising higher each day.

Jupiter will pass through opposition on July 13th, 2020, crossing into the evening sky.

Mercury at Maximum Elongation

Mercury, Venus and Jupiter
An evening conjunction of Mercury, Venus and Jupiter on 30 May, 2013

Today Mercury is passing through maximum elongation, the furthest it will rise above the rising Sun in the dawn sky. After today the planet will slide back into the Sun’s glare headed for superior conjunction on January 10th.

This is a modest apparition, with the planet only 20° from the Sun.

Continue reading “Mercury at Maximum Elongation”

Venus and Jupiter

Observant sky watchers will have noticed that the two brightest planets in our skies have been drawing close together. Jupiter and Venus are currently about 2° apart. Sunday evening will see them at their closest for viewers in the islands at just under 1.5° apart. Monday will see the pair very slightly further apart at just over 1.5° separation.

Conjunction
Venus and Jupiter over the Keck 1 dome

After Monday the two will gradually separate further with Jupiter disappearing into the sunset in mid-December while Venus continues to climb further from the Sun until maximum elongation on March 24, 2020.

On Wednesday the 27th a thin crescent Moon will join these bright planets, just 5° below Jupiter. On Thursday the 28th the Moon will be 4° above Venus. The three should make for quite a spectacular sight in the glow of sunset.

A degree and a half separation will allow both to fit in the field of view of very low power telescopes and binoculars, a bit much to fit both in the field of view of most telescopes.

Mercury at Inferior Conjunction

Today Mercury is passing through inferior conjunction, passing between the Sun and the Earth. This fast moving planet will reappear above the dawn in about a week, rising towards maximum elongation on November 28th.

On this particular conjunction the planet will transit the Sun.

This will be a modest apparition, with the planet reaching only 20° away from the Sun.

Mercury Events for 2019
ApparitionDate ElongationMagnitude
Evening Feb 2718.1°E -0.2
Morning Apr 1127.7°W +0.6
Evening Jun 2325.2°E +0.7
Morning Aug 919.0°W +0.3
Evening Oct 2024.6°E +0.1
Morning Nov 2820.1°W -0.3
Data from the Mercury Chaser’s Calculator by John Walker

Mercury at Maximum Elongation

Mercury, Venus and Jupiter
An evening conjunction of Mercury, Venus and Jupiter on 30 May, 2013

Today Mercury is passing through maximum elongation, the furthest it will rise above the setting Sun in the evening sky. After today the planet will slide back into the Sun’s glare headed for inferior conjunction on November 11th.

This is a good apparition, with the planet over 24° from the Sun at maximum.

Continue reading “Mercury at Maximum Elongation”

Venus Appears in the Sunset

Crescent Venus
Venus approaching inferior conjunction, 24Dec2013

Over the next weeks Venus will appear above the sunset. Look for a brilliant, star-like object low in the glow of sunset, right above the setting Sun.

Over the following months the planet will rise high above the sunset, reaching maximum elongation on March 24th, 2020.

When Venus does reappear we can expect a few UFO reports by people unfamiliar with the normal workings of our skies. In late 2018, when it last emerged in the dawn we had a few such reports here on the island, including a very nice video and folks who could not accept the fact that the “strange light” was simply a bright planet.

Rising with Venus on this particular apparition is Mercury, the pair getting higher each evening until Mercury reaches maximum elongation on October 19th.

Mercury at Superior Conjunction

Today Mercury is passing through superior conjunction, passing around the far side of the Sun as seen from our earthbound vantage point. This fast moving planet will reappear in the sunset in about a week, rising towards maximum elongation on October 20th.

This will be a good apparition of mercury reaching over 24° from the Sun.

Mercury Events for 2019
ApparitionDate ElongationMagnitude
Evening Feb 2718.1°E -0.2
Morning Apr 1127.7°W +0.6
Evening Jun 2325.2°E +0.7
Morning Aug 919.0°W +0.3
Evening Oct 2024.6°E +0.1
Morning Nov 2820.1°W -0.3
Data from the Mercury Chaser’s Calculator by John Walker

Mars at Superior Conjunction

Mars during the 2005 opposition
Mars during the 2005 opposition

Today mars is passing through superior conjunction, passing behind the Sun as seen from our earthbound point of view.

Mars will reappear in the dawn around the end of September, a star like object low on the horizon, just above the glow of sunrise.

Mars will spend the remainder of 2019 and much of 2020 in the dawn sky, reaching opposition on Oct 13th, 2020.

Venus at Superior Conjunction

Crescent Venus
Venus approaching inferior conjunction, 24Dec2013

Today Venus is passing through superior conjunction, passing behind the Sun as seen from our earthbound point of view.

Venus will reappear in the sunset in mid-September, a brilliant star like object low on the horizon, just above the glow of sunset.

When Venus does reappear we can expect a few UFO reports by people unfamiliar with the normal workings of our skies. In late 2018, when it last emerged in the dawn we had a few such reports here on the island, including a very nice video and folks who could not accept the fact that the “strange light” was simply a bright planet.

Venus will spend the remainder of 2019 in the evening sky, reaching maximum elongation on March 24th, 2020.