2019, October 1-6: Waxing Moon Passes Evening Planets, Jupiter and Saturn

The moon passes the evening planets, Jupiter and Saturn, during early October 2019. (The moon’s size is exaggerated on the diagram.)

The moon returns to the evening sky and passes Jupiter and Saturn early in October 2019.  The following summarizes the evenings, one hour after sunset.  (Check your local sources for the time of sunset for your location.)

  • October 1: One hour after sunset the crescent moon (3.2 days after the New phase, 15% illuminated), 11° up in the west-southwest, is east of a line that connects Zubenelgenubi  and Zubeneschamali (β Lib, m = 2.6), 6.5° to the lower left of Zubeneschamali.  Bright Jupiter is 19° up in the southwest.  Meanwhile, Saturn is about 25° to the upper left of Jupiter.  Saturn is nearly 26° up in the south.
  • October 2: The crescent moon (4.2d, 23%) is about 16° up in the southwest, one hour after sunset. Through a binocular observe the crescent moon. The binocular reveals the gentle glow of Earthshine in the lunar night. At the same time, the lunar crescent is nearly 12° to the lower right of Jupiter.
  • October 3: One hour after sunset, the moon (5.2d, 33%) is 1.9° to the upper left of Jupiter.
  • October 4: One hour after sunset, the moon (6.2d, 43%) is nearly midway between Jupiter and Saturn; the planets are over 25° apart, although the moon is closer to Saturn. The moon – Saturn gap, 10.7°; moon – Jupiter, 14.6°. All three are along the same diagonal line.
  • October 5: Today, the moon reaches its First Quarter phase at 11:47 a.m. CDT Three of the bright planets continue to hide in the sun’s glare. Mars, about a month after its solar conjunction, is 11° west of the sun, rising about one hour before sunrise. The visibility of Mercury and Venus suffers from a poorly inclined ecliptic – plane of the solar system – this time of year. Venus, 14° east of the sun, sets 36 minutes after the sun; Mercury, 21° east of the sun, sets about 5 minutes after Venus. The two bright outer planets, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southern sky after sunset. Saturn, 25° up in the south, is 2.1° to the upper right of the slightly gibbous moon (7.2d, 53%). The planet is west of south cardinal point. Bright Jupiter, 25° to the lower right of Saturn, is nearly 18° up in the south-southwest.
  • October 6: One hour after sunset, the moon (8.2d, 63%), 25° up in the south – east of the meridian, is over 14° to the upper left of Saturn.

Happy observing!

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