Thursday, January 1, 2015

Sky Events January 2015


Moon Phases

Sunday, January 4, 11:53 p.m. EST

Full Moon

The Full Moon of January is known as the “Wolf Moon” or “Old Moon.” It rises around sunset and sets around sunrise; this is the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the Moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.

Tuesday, January 13, 4:46 a.m. EST

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 12:30 a.m. and sets around noon. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Tuesday, January 20, 8:14 a.m. EST

New Moon

The Moon is not visible on the date of New Moon because it is too close to the Sun, but can be seen low in the East as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the West an evening or two after New Moon.

Monday, January 26, 11:48 p.m. EST

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around 11 a.m. and sets around 1 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.


Observing Highlights

Saturday, January 3, 9 p.m. EST

Quadrantid meteor shower peaks

A waxing gibbous Moon will interfere with viewing this meteor shower. The best meteors will be visible after midnight, about 90 degrees away from the radiant in Bo├Âtes.

Tuesday, January 6, 6:56–8:08 a.m. EST

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

The shadows of Io and Europa will fall simultaneously on Jupiter.

Thursday–Monday, January 8–12, dusk

Mercury close to Venus

Mercury will be within one degree of Venus for five days, making it easy to spot in evening twilight. Mars is also visible higher in the sky.

Friday, January 9, 8:15–10:05 p.m. EST

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

The shadows of Io and Europa will fall simultaneously on Jupiter.

Friday, January 16, 1 hour before sunrise

Saturn and the Moon

Saturn will be close to the slender waning crescent Moon, just before sunrise Tuesday morning.

Friday, January 16, 10:51–11:59 p.m. EST

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

The shadows of Io and Europa will fall simultaneously on Jupiter.

Monday, January 19, dusk

Neptune and Mars

Neptune and Mars will pass within 15 arc minutes of each other, a rare planetary conjunction.

Friday–Saturday, January 23–24, 11:35 p.m.–03:00 a.m. EST

Double and triple shadow transit on Jupiter

The shadows of Io, Europa, and Callisto will fall simultaneously on Jupiter; this is an extremely rare event, which will not occur again until 2032.


Thursday, January 29, dusk

Aldebaran and the Moon

The waxing gibbous Moon is east of the red giant star Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster. The bright Pleiades star cluster is above and towards the west.

Planets

Mercury is well placed in the evening sky close to Venus.

Venus is an “evening star” in the southwestern sky just after sunset.

 Mars spends most of the month in Aquarius, low in the southwestern sky after sunset.

Jupiter now rises in the early evening in the constellation Leo, and shines brightly in the southern sky the rest of the night. The current series of double shadow transits culminates in a triple shadow transit on the night of January 24.

 Saturn moves from Libra into Scorpius on January 17 the southeastern morning sky.

Uranus is well placed in Pisces in the evening sky, setting in late evening.

 Neptune is low the western evening sky in Aquarius.


Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
All graphics © 2015 Starry Night Software

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 2014



Moon Phases

Saturday, December 6, 7:27 a.m. EST

Full Moon

The Full Moon of December is known as the “Oak Moon,” “Cold Moon,” or “Long Nights Moon.” It rises around sunset and sets around sunrise; this is the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the Moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.

Sunday, December 14, 7:51 a.m. EST

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 11:45 p.m. and sets around 12:15 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Sunday, December 21, 8:36 p.m. EST

New Moon

The Moon is not visible on the date of New Moon because it is too close to the Sun, but can be seen low in the East as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the West an evening or two after New Moon.

Sunday, December 28, 1:31 p.m. EST

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around noon and sets around 1 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.

 

Observing Highlights

Monday, December 1, 7 p.m. EST

Uranus and the Moon

The waxing gibbous Moon will pass just north of the planet Uranus. Observers in northwestern Canada and eastern Alaska will see the Moon occult Uranus, as in this view from Yellowknife, NWT, Canada.

Friday, December 5, midnight EST

Aldebaran and the Moon

The nearly full Moon passes just north of the red giant star Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster. The bright Pleiades star cluster is above and towards the West.

Monday, December 8, 11:20–11:25 p.m. EST

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

For a brief 5-minute period, the shadows of both Io and Europa will fall simultaneously on opposite limbs of Jupiter, the first of a series of double transit events culminating in a triple shadow and satellite transit on January 24, 2015.

Sunday, December 14, 7 a.m. EST

Geminid meteor shower peaks

A last quarter Moon will interfere with viewing this most reliable meteor shower. The best meteors will be visible about 90 degrees away from the radiant in Gemini.

Tuesday, December 16, 1:12–02:02 a.m. EST

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

For 50 minutes the shadows of both Io and Europa will fall simultaneously on Jupiter. Note that this event occurs after midnight on Monday, December 15.

Friday, December 19, 1 hour before sunrise

Saturn and the Moon

Saturn makes a reappearance as a “morning star” close to the slender waning crescent Moon, just before sunrise Friday morning.

Sunday, December 21, 6:03 p.m. EST

Winter solstice

The Sun reaches its southernmost position in the sky, and begins moving northward again. New Moon is less than 3 hours away, so the Moon is close by, and the Sun is flanked by four planets (Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Saturn) and two dwarf planets (Pluto and Ceres). As happens every year at the solstice, the Sun is only a few degrees away from “alignment” with the black hole at the center of our Galaxy. This is the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.

Sunday, December 28, midnight EST

Uranus and the Moon

The waxing gibbous Moon again passes just north of the planet Uranus. Observers in northeastern Asia, Alaska, and northern Canada will see the Moon occult Uranus, as in this view from Yellowknife, NWT, Canada.

 

Planets


Mercury is too close to the Sun to observe all month. 
 

Venus reappears as an “evening star” in the southwestern sky just after sunset at the beginning of the month.
 

Mars moves from Sagittarius into Capricornus on the 4th low in the southwestern sky, moving behind the Sun. Mars is at its closest to the Sun (perihelion) on the 12th, and spring is well advanced in its southern hemisphere.

Jupiter now rises in mid-evening in the constellation Leo, and shines brightly in the southern sky the rest of the night. A two-month series of double shadow transits begins on December 8.

Saturn reappears in as a “morning star” in Libra in the southeastern dawn sky.

Uranus is well placed in Pisces in the evening sky, setting after midnight. Two close approaches by the Moon on the 1st and 28th will make it easy to spot.



Neptune is in the early evening sky in Aquarius, setting in late evening.





Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
All graphics © 2014 Starry Night Software



Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sky Events November 2014


Moon Phases

Thursday, November 6, 5:23 p.m. EST

Full Moon

The Full Moon of November is known as the “Beaver Moon” or the “Frosty Moon.” It rises around sunset and sets around sunrise; this is the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the Moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.

Friday, November 14, 10:15 a.m. EST

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 11:00 p.m. and sets around 1:00 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Saturday, November 22, 7:32 a.m. EST

New Moon

The Moon is not visible on the date of New Moon because it is too close to the Sun, but can be seen low in the East as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the West an evening or two after New Moon.

Saturday, November 29, 5:06 a.m. EST

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around noon and sets around 11:45 p.m. It dominates the evening sky.

Observing Highlights

Saturday, November 1, dawn

Mercury at greatest elongation west

Mercury will be best placed in the morning sky for the entire year. Look for it low in the eastern sky about half an hour before sunrise.

Tuesday, November 4, 1 p.m. EST

Uranus and the Moon

The nearly full Moon will pass just north of the planet Uranus at 1 p.m. By the time it gets dark in eastern North America, the Moon will have moved eastward, but will still be close enough to Uranus to make the planet easy toolkit.This chart shows the positions of the Moon and Uranus at 7:30 p.m. EST.

Saturday, November 8, 8 p.m. local time

Aldebaran and the Moon

When the Moon rises tonight in the northeastern sky around 8 p.m. local time, it will be close to the bright red giant star Aldebaran and the Hyades and Pleiades star clusters.

Monday, November 17, 6 p.m. EST

Leonid meteor shower peaks

The peak of this meteor shower occurs at 6 p.m. E.S.T. when the radiant is below the horizon in North America. The radiant rises in the northeast at midnight local time, but meteors may still be seen. The best meteors are visible about 90 degrees away from the radiant.

Saturday, November 22, 7:32 a.m. EST

Grand conjunction

On the morning of November 22, six solar system objects will be packed into an area of the sky less that 20 degrees wide. Centered on the Sun and the New Moon, the planet Venus and dwarf planet Ceres will be to the east of the Sun, and the planets Saturn and Mercury will be to the west of the Sun. Unfortunately, the bright Sun will make it impossible to see any of these objects except the Sun itself.

Planets


Mercury will be well placed in the morning sky for observers in the Northern Hemisphere for the first half of the month.

Venus is too close to the Sun to be observed all month.

Mars is now in Sagittarius, closing in on the Sun.

Jupiter now rises in the late evening in the constellation Leo.

Saturn is in conjunction with the Sun this month, so cannot be seen.

Uranus is well placed in Pisces in the evening sky. A close approach by the Moon on the 4th will make it easy to spot.

Neptune is well placed in the early evening sky in Aquarius, and sets near midnight.


Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
All graphics © 2014 Starry Night Software