Feb 21

Sky Report: February 22 – February 28

Only two months ago we enjoyed the remarkable sight of Jupiter and Saturn sitting extremely close together in the evening sky, and then Mercury made a great appearance when it was easy to see. These three planets then moved close to the sun, but they’re back – now on the other side of the sun […]

Feb 14

Sky Report: February 15 – February 21

This will be true for some time: Mars is the one planet in the evening sky (not counting Uranus which is nearby), and it’s high in the southwest at sunset. Mars is 11 light-minutes away, which means that the light of Mars we see now left Mars 11 minutes ago. This is true of radio […]

Feb 7

Sky Report: February 8 – February 14

Mars remains the sole planet visible tonight, and you can easily see it high in the southwest as darkness falls. It remains visible until it sets after midnight. Mars is brighter – and oranger – than any star in the area so you’ll have no trouble identifying it. Three spacecraft reach Mars this month, an […]

Jan 31

Sky Report: February 1 – February 7

The sole planet visible tonight in both the evening and morning sky is Mars, since all the others are behind the sun (or in front of it in the case of Mercury). But Mars is easy to see. At our southernly latitude it’s nearly overhead as darkness falls, and it’s the brightest “star” in that […]

Jan 24

Sky Report: January 25 – January 31

Beginning with planets, two are out this evening – Mars and Mercury. Mercury is hard to see and getting harder by the day. Being on an orbit that is inside ours it never strays far from the sun, so it’s always near the horizon in twilight. It was at its greatest angular separation from the […]

Jan 16

Sky Report: January 18 – January 24

Jupiter and Saturn have left the evening sky while at the same time Venus is leaving the morning sky, leaving bright Mars to shine down on us. But this week and most of next Mercury makes an excellent although brief appearance in the evening sky, and if you’ve never seen it, this is a good […]

Jan 10

Sky Report: January 11 – January 17

Jupiter and Saturn were in conjunction last month, and at their closest they were separated by a scant 1/10°. They’re still close, and on the 11th they’re separated by 2½° and remain a nice double planet in binoculars. But Mercury joins them, and for a few days only you have the opportunity to see three […]

Jan 4

Sky Report: January 4 – January 10

This week is your last chance to see Jupiter and Saturn, still unusually close together. They were at their closest on December 21 when Jupiter passed only 1/10° from Saturn. Now Jupiter is pulling away from Saturn but they’re still less than 2° apart. Look for Jupiter a half-hour after sunset very low in the […]

Dec 27

Sky Report: December 28 – January 3

All the astronomy news a week ago was about the extremely close conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, when they were separated by a scant 0.1°. Jupiter orbits the sun faster than Saturn and is leaving Saturn behind as it moves eastward and away from it, but they remain close and are well worth watching. They’re […]

Dec 20

Sky Report: December 21 – December 27

Jupiter has been approaching Saturn for months, and on the 21st they’re at their closest – a scant 1/10° a half-hour after sunset. Their separation is 1/5 the diameter of the full moon, although of course Saturn is far beyond Jupiter. This is the closest they’ve been since 1623, when Galileo was still alive; the […]