Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sky Events May 2016


Moon Phases

Friday, May 6, 3:30 p.m. EDT

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.

Friday, May 13, 1:02 p.m. EDT

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around 12:30 p.m. and sets around 2:30 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.

Saturday, May 21, 5:14 p.m. EDT

Full Moon

The May Full Moon is known as the Milk Moon, Flower Moon, or Corn Planting 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, May 29, 8:12 a.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 1:45 a.m. and sets around 1:15 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Observing Highlights

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

Saturday, May 7, 12:39–1:42 a.m. EDT

Shadows of Io and Callisto cross Jupiter simultaneously. The Sun is behind us to the right, and Io is much closer to Jupiter than Callisto, so that its shadow is much closer to the moon casting it.

Transit of Mercury

Monday, May 9, 7:12 a.m.–2:42 p.m. EDT

For 7 1/2 hours, Mercury will be visible crossing the face of the Sun. A telescope with proper solar protection and magnifying at least 60 times is needed to see Mercury’s tiny disk.

Jupiter 2 degrees north of Moon

Sunday, May 15, 2 a.m. local time

The waxing gibbous Moon will pass just south of Jupiter.

Mars at opposition

Sunday, May 22, 7 a.m. EDT

Mars is directly opposite the Sun in the sky, and is visible all night long.

Mars closest to Earth

Monday, May 30, 6 p.m. EDT

Because of Mars’ elliptical obit, it is actually closest to Earth 8 days past opposition. This is the closest Mars has been to Earth since 2005.

Planets

Mercury transits in front of the Sun on May 9. It will be well placed in the morning sky for observers in the Southern Hemisphere after May 19.


Venus is too close to the Sun to be observed.


Mars is in opposition to the Sun on May 22, and closest to Earth on May 30. This is generally a good apparition, but Mars is low in the southern sky for northern observers. It is visible all night in Scorpius.


Jupiter is well placed in the evening sky in Leo. It sets around 3 a.m.


Saturn is well placed in Ophiuchus, rising in late evening. Its rings are now spread widely, making it a beautiful sight in a small telescope.


Uranus is low in the eastern sky in Pisces, rising just before the Sun.


Neptune is in the eastern morning sky in Aquarius.

Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
All graphics © 2016 Starry Night Software

Friday, April 1, 2016

Sky Events April 2016

Moon Phases

Thursday, April 7, 7:24 a.m. EDT

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.

Wednesday, April 13, 11:59 p.m. EDT

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around 11:45 a.m. and sets around 2:45 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.

Friday, April 22, 1:24 a.m. EDT

Full Moon

The April Full Moon is known as the Seed Moon, Pink Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon, or Fish 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, April 29, 11:29 p.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 2:30 a.m. and sets around 1:15 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Observing Highlights

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

Tuesday, April 5, 5:37–6:19 a.m. EDT

Shadows of Io and Europa cross Jupiter simultaneously.

Aldebaran 0.3 degrees south of Moon

Sunday, April 10, 6 p.m. EDT

The Moon will occult Aldebaran as seen from Hawaii, northern Mexico, USA, and southern Canada.

Jupiter 2 degrees north of Moon

Monday, April 18, 1 a.m. EDT

The waxing gibbous Moon will pass just south of Jupiter.

Mercury at greatest elongation East

Monday, April 18, 10 a.m. EDT

This is the best evening apparition of Mercury for 2016 for observers in the Northern Hemisphere.

Moon, Saturn, Mars, and Antares in group

Monday, April 25, past midnight

These four bright objects will rise as a group in the East just after midnight on April 24/25.

Juno at opposition

Tuesday, April 26, 11:00 p.m. EDT

The asteroid Juno is exactly opposite the Sun in the sky, and is visible all night. It is magnitude 10.0 in the eastern part of the constellation Virgo.

Planets

Mercury is well placed all month in the evening sky, the best apparition of the year for observers in the Northern Hemisphere.


Venus is moving behind the Sun, and will be hard to spot before sunrise.


Mars rises around midnight, moving from Scorpius to Ophiuchus on the 3rd. It reverses direction on the 16th and moves back into Scorpius on the 30th. Its disk grows from 12 to 16 arc seconds during the month, as it moves towards opposition on May 22. Observers with good telescopes should be able to see some of the dark markings on Mars’ surface this month.


Jupiter was at opposition on March 8, so is still visible most of the night, setting around 5 a.m.


Saturn is well placed in Ophiuchus, rising around midnight. Its rings are now spread widely, making it a beautiful sight in a small telescope.


Uranus is too close to the Sun to be observed this month.


Neptune is also too close to the Sun to be observed.


Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
All graphics © 2016 Starry Night Software

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sky Events March 2016

Moon Phases

Tuesday, March 1, 6:11 p.m. EST

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 12:45 a.m. and sets around 11 a.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky. This is the first of two Last Quarter Moons this month.

Tuesday, March 8, 8:54 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.

Tuesday, March 15, 1:03 p.m. EDT

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around noon and sets around 3:15 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.

Wednesday, March 23, 8:01 a.m. EDT

Full Moon

The March Full Moon is known as the Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Sap Moon, or Lenten 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.


Thursday, March 31, 11:17 a.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 2:15 a.m. and sets around 12:15 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky. This is the second of two Last Quarter Moons this month.

Observing Highlights

Venus and the Moon

Monday, March 7, 6:00 a.m. EST

Venus and the moon rise around 6 a.m., about 45 minutes before sunrise, less than 3 degrees apart.

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

Monday, March 7, 7:28–8:58 p.m. EST

Shadows of Io and Europa cross Jupiter simultaneously. Because this is only 10 hours before opposition, the moons almost overlap their shadows.

Jupiter at opposition

Tuesday, March 8, 6:00 a.m. EST

Jupiter is exactly opposite the Sun in the sky, and is visible all night.

Total eclipse of the Sun

Wednesday, March 9

The path of totality crosses the islands of Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi, and Halmahera in Indonesia, before heading to across the Pacific Ocean. It is seen here from Palembang on Sumatra. Partial phases of the eclipse will be visible in Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Papua-New Guinea, all of Australia except the southeast, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

Monday, March 14, 10:22–11:34 p.m. EDT

Shadows of Io and Europa cross Jupiter simultaneously.

Equinox

Sunday, March 20, 12:30 a.m. EDT

The Sun crosses the celestial equator traveling north, marking the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere. Days and nights are of equal length. The Sun rises due east and sets due west.

Jupiter 2 degrees north of Moon

Monday/Tuesday, March 21/22, 12 midnight EDT

There is a close conjunction between the planet Jupiter and the Moon right at midnight.

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

Tuesday, March 22, 12:23–2:31 a.m. EDT

Shadows of Io and Europa cross Jupiter simultaneously.

Penumbral eclipse of the Moon

Wednesday, March 23, 6:47 a.m. HADT

The Moon will dip briefly into the Earth’s faint penumbral shadow, best seen from the Pacific Ocean and surrounding territories. Here seen from Honolulu, Hawaii.

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

Wednesday, March 23, 7:47–8:59 p.m. EDT

Shadows of Io and Ganymede cross Jupiter simultaneously. Europa is in occultation behind Jupiter and won’t reappear from Jupiter’s shadow until 9:46 p.m. EDT. Thus from 6:22 p.m. until 9:46 p.m. Io and Ganymede will be in front of Jupiter and Europa will be behind Jupiter or in its shadow, leaving Callisto as the only moon visible in small telescopes.

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

Tuesday, March 29, 3:00–4:25 a.m. EDT

Shadows of Io and Europa cross Jupiter simultaneously.

Planets

Mercury is well placed low in the morning sky at dawn for the first half of the month. This apparition is more favorable for observers in the Southern Hemisphere because of the angle the ecliptic makes with the horizon.


Venus continues to shine brightly at dawn all month, but is dropping towards the Sun.


Mars, in the morning sky, moves from Libra to Scorpius on the 13th. Its disk grows from 9 to 11 arc seconds during the month, as it moves towards opposition on May 22. Observers with good telescopes should be able to see some of the dark markings on Mars’ surface this month.


Jupiter is at opposition on March 8, so is visible all night. There are a number of interesting double shadow crossings by Jupiter’s inner three moons.


Saturn is well placed in Ophiuchus, rising near midnight. Its rings are now spread widely, making it a beautiful sight in a small telescope.


Uranus is too close to the Sun to be observed this month.


Neptune is also too close to the Sun to be observed all month.


Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
All graphics © 2016 Starry Night Software