Tag: sky watching

2020, March 17: Brilliant Venus Begins Approach to Pleiades

Venus and Pleiades, March 17, 2020
2020, March 17: Venus is over 16° to the lower right of the Pleiades star cluster.

Venus begins its approach to the Pleiades and their April 3, conjunction. This evening, Venus is over 16° to the lower right of the star cluster. The Pleiades are in the constellation Taurus.  The pattern’s brightest star is Aldebaran, to the upper left of the star cluster.

Venus and the stars shine through a thin veil of clouds this evening.

For more about the Venus-Pleiades conjunction, click here.

For more about Venus during March, click here.

2020, March 17: Moon Joins Morning Planet Parade

Moon joins Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn, March 17, 2020
2020, March 17: The moon approaches Jupiter and Mars as Mars closes in for its March 20 conjunction with Jupiter.

 

This morning, the moon approaches Jupiter and Mars as Mars closes in for its March 20 conjunction with Jupiter.  Jupiter is over 12° to the lower left of the moon (22.8 days past the New Moon phase, 39% illuminated). Fast moving Mars is 1.7° to the right of Jupiter. The other planet gaps: Saturn – Mars, 8.9°; Jupiter – Saturn, 7.2°. 

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 15: Venus Sparkles in West

Venus in west after sunset, March 15, 2020
2020, March 15: Venus appears 8.5° to the upper left of Hamal.

Venus shines brightly in the western sky this evening after sunset.  It appears 8.5° to the upper left of Hamal.  Watch it continue to move past the stars of Aries and into Taurus.  The Pleiades are far above the planet.  Venus passes the star cluster next month.

For more about Venus during March, click here.

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.