2018, March 18: Venus, Mercury and the Moon

Venus, Mercury and the crescent moon,: March 18, 2018

Update:  March 18, 2018

Venus enters the evening sky early in 2018, setting later each night.  By March 1 Venus sets about 100 minutes after sunset, although before the end of twilight. Mercury has its best evening appearance with its greatest elongation on March 15.  On March 18, Mercury passes about 4 degrees from Venus with the moon 4 degrees beyond Venus.  The moon is just 35 hours past its new phase.

After the conjunction, Venus continues to set later; by the end of the March, it sets after twilight ends.  Mercury dashes back into the sun’s glare toward its inferior conjunction on April 1, reappearing in a difficult-to-see apparition in the morning sky.

The articles that follow provide details about the planets visible without optical assistance (binoculars or telescope):

Advertisements

2018, February 10: Mars-Antares Conjunction

During early 2018,  Mars rambles eastward among the stars, growing nearly 40% in brightness.  On the morning of February 10, Mars passes 5 degrees from the star Antares.  Jupiter is 17 degrees to the upper right of Mars and the waning crescent moon is 14 degrees to the lower left. (Mars passes  Jupiter on January 7.) Mars is the Roman name for this planet.  The Greeks called it Ares.  Antares is sometimes called the “Rival of Mars.”  When both are in the sky they resemble each other in brightness and color.  Another way to consider this is the prefix “Ant,”  sometimes meaning against: Antares = Against Mars.  Yet another way is to think that “Ant” can be replaced with “Not:” Not Mars.  This star is Antares, not Mars; it’s not Mars.

The articles that follow provide details about the planets visible without optical assistance (binoculars or telescope):