THE CRESCENT PHASE OF VENUS

After a prominent evening apparition, the bright planet VENUS is sinking toward the western horizon, as seen in the evenings after sunset. After appearing as the “Evening Star” since wintertime, Venus will vanish into the sunset and be lost in the Sun’s glare for about a week. After that it will emerge from the sunrise, becoming visible as the “Morning … Continue reading

VENUS AND PLEIADES

THIS WEEK! Grab your binocs! The brilliant, blazing planet VENUS aligns with the PLEIADES, the bright star cluster in Taurus, near Orion. The closest alignment is on the evening of Friday, April 3, 2020. If you’re STILL not familiar with Venus, it’s the bright, blazing “star” hanging high in the western sky in the evening during and after dusk twilight. … Continue reading

THIS WEEK! Moon and Three Planets

July,2018 is an excellent month to observe the visible outer planets. The waxing gibbous Moon aligns with bright Jupiter on the evening of Friday, July 20. After that, the Moon draws closest to the planet Saturn on the evening of Tuesday, July 24. Keep an eye on the Moon from night to night as it draws near Mars on the … Continue reading

A Brief History of Mars

A Brief History of Mars (Originally published in the Classical Astronomy Update of August, 2003) Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.” — Isaiah 47:13 Mars has always been the subject of mythology, from the pagan … Continue reading

Venus, Mars and the Moon

VENUS, MARS AND THE MOON: Look outside this evening to see the dazzling bright “star” VENUS shining in the evening sky. Notice the fainter, yellowish “star” nearby. This is the planet MARS. You’ll easily find these planets on the evening of Tuesday, January 31 when they are joined by the four-day-old waxing crescent Moon. These three bodies will make a … Continue reading

Venus, Mars and the Moon

MOON AND PLANETS THIS WEEKEND! Mars has put on quite a show in 2016, and the year ends with an extended “visitation” with the bright planet Venus. Spot these blazing “stars” as the waxing crescent Moon passes by this weekend. And then keep your eyes on Venus and Mars as they draw closer and remain close until February, 2017. These … Continue reading

Father’s Day Conjunctions

The bright red planet MARS has been sharing the constellation Scorpius with the planet SATURN in 2016. These two make a pretty sight in the southern sky in the current season, as they move about through this conspicuous constellation. The scene always gets more interesting when the Moon wanders by, as it does each month. But June’s show is only … Continue reading

Planetary Conjunction – Venus and Saturn

The first big event in Saturn’s fun year will be a VERY CLOSE conjunction with Venus on the morning of Saturday, January 9.  If you are able to spot these two planets when the Moon was nearby during the week, you should be able to spot them again on Saturday morning when they draw closest.  Saturn is the little “speck” … Continue reading

Lunar Conjunction – Venus and Saturn

The fun begins in 2016 with the morning conjunction of the waning crescent Moon with the bright planet Venus this week, on the morning of Thursday, January 7, before sunrise.  But as a special added bonus, Venus is currently lining up with the planet Saturn, which recently emerged from the sunrise, after being invisibly hidden on the opposite side of … Continue reading

2016: A Year of Lunar and Planetary Conjunctions

Friends, 2015 was a very interesting year for conjunctions of the Moon and planets.  Long-time readers of this newsletter and other experienced sky observers understand that the classical planets are among the brightest objects in the sky, and are brighter that the actual fixed stars. The planet Venus is blazingly bright, the third brightest object in the sky, exceeded in … Continue reading

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