Tag: Planets

2020, April 6: The Morning Planet Parade Marches On

Venus is passed the Pleiades, April 5, 2020
2020, April 6:  Jupiter, Saturn, Mars  planets span 9.6°.

The three Bright Outer Planets – Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars – continue to march through the morning sky.  This morning the planets are in the southeast.

The three planets span 9.6°. Jupiter is 5.9° to the upper right of Saturn. Mars, 3.7° to the lower left of Saturn.

Mars continues to move away from Jupiter and Saturn, while Jupiter slowly inches eastward toward Saturn.

Jupiter passes Saturn on December 21, 2020, for a Great Conjunction.

For more about the April 2020 morning planets, click here.

2020, April 4: Venus and Pleiades

Venus and Pleiades, April 4, 2020
2020, April 4: 0.9° to the upper left of the brightest star in the cluster, Alcyone

One day after Venus passed the Pleiades, the brilliant planet is still nearby. The Venus is 0.9° to the upper left of the brightest star in the cluster, Alcyone. During the next few evenings Venus moves up and to the left of the star cluster.

Venus and Pleiades, April 4, 2020
2020, April 4: 0.9° to the upper left of the brightest star in the cluster, Alcyone.

 

For more about Venus as an Evening Star, visit this page.

2020, April 2: Mars Marches Away From Jupiter and Saturn

Mars moves away from Jupiter and Saturn
2020, April 2: The Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars span 7.3°

The bright morning planets – Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars – continue to group in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Mars, after its conjunctions with Jupiter and Saturn, begins to march away from the two giant planets.

The three planets span 7.3°. Each day the separation grows. Jupiter is 6.1° to the upper right of Saturn. Mars is 1.4° to the lower left of Saturn.

Jupiter and Saturn are headed for their once-in-a-generation Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020.

For more about the morning planets during April 2020, click here.

2020, April 1: Venus and Pleiades

2020, April 1: Venus is 1.8° to the lower right of the Pleiades star cluster.

 

This evening, Venus is 1.8° to the lower right of the Pleiades star cluster.

Use a binocular to highlight the view of the cluster and the nearby checkmark-shaped Hyades, especially with a bright moon in the sky.  With the yellow-orange star Aldebaran, the Hyades cluster makes a V-shape, although the Aldebaran is not part of the cluster.

More about Venus and the Pleiades, click here.

2020, March 30: Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars in a Group

Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars, March 30, 2020
2020, March 30: Mars is 1.2° to the lower right of Saturn.

 

This morning bright Jupiter is to the upper right of Saturn and Mars. The Red Planet 1.2° to the lower right of the Ringed Wonder. Jupiter is 6.4° to the upper right of Saturn. In the starfield, Jupiter is 1.7° to the lower right of 56 Sagittarii.

For more about tomorrow’s conjunction, click here.

2020, March 23: Venus and Pleiades

Venus and Pleiades, March 23, 2020
2020, March 23: Venus is 10.4° to the lower right of Alcyone, the brightest star in the Pleiades.

Brilliant Venus shines brightly in the west this evening.  It is 10.4° to the lower right of Alcyone, the brightest star in the Pleiades.  Each evening Venus moves closer to the cluster.  Venus passes the Pleiades on April 3.  On March 28, the moon joins the scene.

For more about Venus as an Evening Star, visit this page.

 

2020, July 19: See Moon and 5 Planets

See the moon and 5 planets, July 19, 2020
2020, July 19: The moon and five planets stretch across the sky before sunrise.

See the moon and 5 planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn before sunrise on July 19, 2020.

Forty-five minutes before sunrise, the crescent moon and five planets are visible curved across the morning sky on July 19, 2020.  Find a spot with clear horizons in the east-northeast and the southwest.  A binocular may help finding the moon, Mercury, and Jupiter.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Brilliant Venus blazes in the eastern sky.  The star Aldebaran is nearby.
  • The crescent moon, 28.2 days past the New Moon phase and only 1% illuminated, is very low in the east-northeast.  This is where the binocular might help.
  • Mercury is to the right of the moon, about 5°. Make a fist and stretch your arm. Five degrees is about the distance from your thumb knuckle to your pointer finger knuckle. A binocular will help here as well. Can you see Mercury without the binocular once you find it?
  • Bright Mars, not as brilliant as Venus is the “star” that’s about halfway up in the sky in the south-southeast.
  • Jupiter – brighter than Mars, but low in the sky – is just above the horizon in the southwest.
  • Saturn, dimmer than Jupiter, is about 7° to the upper left of the Giant Planet. Both appear to our eyes as “stars.” Their separation is a little more than the knuckle to pointer distance described above. Don’t confuse Saturn with the star Fomalhaut, farther south, but at about the same altitude as Saturn.

Five planets and the crescent moon are in the sky at one time! During the next few mornings five planets are visible, but without the moon. Additionally, Jupiter is quickly leaving the sky. So on successive mornings, look 3-4 minutes earlier each day. You may catch them in the sky until about July 25.

Jupiter and Saturn are headed toward their Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020. Look for them low in the southeast during the early evening hours of July and August 2020.