2020, March 8: Brilliant Venus Passes Planet Uranus

Venus and Uranus, March 8, 2020
2020, March 8: Venus is 2.2° to the upper right of Uranus.

This evening, under a nearly full moon, brilliant Venus shines from the western sky. It is 2.2° to the upper right of Uranus.  All week Venus has been moving toward the more distant planet.  This evening they appear closest.  

If you look closely at the image, Uranus is present.  Use a binocular to locate the dimmer planet in the sky.  Tomorrow evening Venus is farther to the upper right of Uranus.

Venus is also moving toward the brightest three stars in Aries.  As Venus heads eastward through the stars, it does not pass closely to them.  The brightest star in Aries, Hamal, is labelled in the above image.

Here’s more information about Venus this week and its place compared to Uranus and Aries.

2020, March 7: Morning Planet Parade on Review

Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, March 7, 2020
2020, March 7: The morning planets span 15.0°.

This morning the planets continue to parade above the southeast horizon. They span 15.0°.

Jupiter is the brightest of the trio.  Mars is 6.9° to the upper right of Jupiter and Saturn – lower in the sky – is 8.0° to the lower left of the Giant Planet.

Watch Mars continue to close the gap on Jupiter.  Mars passes on March 20 and then reaches Saturn on March 31.

In the starfield, Jupiter is 4.4° to the lower left of Pi Sagittarii. Mars is 3.1° to the upper left of Nunki, a star on the handle of the Teapot of Sagittarius,

Once every generation, these three planets appear close together in the sky.  Jupiter and Saturn are headed for their every 20-year reunion in December, in what is known as a great conjunction.

Read more about the morning planets here.

2020, March 6: Brilliant Evening Star Venus in West

Brilliant Venus in west, March 6, 2020
2020, March 6: Brilliant Venus continues to approach Uranus.

This evening brilliant Venus is 2.7° to the lower right of Uranus.  Venus continues to move farther into Aries near the three bright stars of the constellation.  Hamal, the brightest, is to the upper right of Venus.

Use a binocular to see the dim bluish planet that resembles a star, even with slight optical magnification.

Here’s more information about Venus this week.

2020, March 3: Venus Approaches Planet Uranus

Venus and Uranus, March 3, 2020
2020, March 3: Uranus is 5.3° to the upper left of Venus.

Brilliant Venus shines from the western sky this evening.  It approaches and passes the planet Uranus on March 7.  This evening, Uranus is 5.3° to the upper left of Venus. 

The three bright stars of Aries are to the upper right of Venus. The constellation’s brightest star is Hamal.

Here’s more information about Venus this week.

2020, March 2: Brilliant Venus Near Planet Uranus

Venus and Uranus, March 2, 2020
2020, March 3: Venus is 6.3° to the lower right of Uranus.

Under the brightness of a First Quarter phase moon, Venus gleams brilliantly in the west.  This week this bright planet approaches and passes the planet Uranus.  This evening Venus is 6.3° to the lower right of Uranus.  Use a binocular to locate Uranus in the star field.

Venus passes to the right of Uranus.  The separation is about 2.3°, about one-third of tonight’s separation.

Here’s more information about Venus this week.

2020, March 2: Morning Planets on Parade

Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn on March 2, 2020
2020, March 2: The morning planets span nearly 18° across the southeast horizon.

This morning Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars – the Bright Outer Planets – stretch across the southeastern sky.  The gap between Saturn and Mars is 17.9°. Mars is 9.4° to the upper right of Jupiter.  Jupiter is 8.5° to the upper right of Saturn

In the starfield Jupiter and Mars are in front of the stars of Sagittarius. Jupiter is 3.7° to the lower left of Phi Sagittarii. Mars is 3.8° to the upper right of Nunki and 4.1° to the left of Kaus Borealis.

Mars marches eastward compared to the starry background.  It catches and passes Jupiter on March 20 and Saturn, March 31.

In two mornings, March 4, Jupiter is nearly midway between Mars and Saturn as Mars closes the gaps on the planetary pair.

Read about the planet during March 2020.

2020, February 27: Crescent Moon and Venus

Crescent Moon and Venus, February 27
2020, February 27: The moon and creescent moon appear together.

Venus and the crescent moon (4.4 days past the New Moon phase, 16% illuminated) are in a classic artist’s scene. Brilliant Venus is 6.7° to the right of the lunar crescent.

Notice that the night portion of the moon is gently illuminated by sunlight that is reflected from our planet – earthshine.