Home > Ephemeris Program, GTAS Outreach Event, Venus > 03/21/2014 – Ephemeris – Star party and Venus this weekend

03/21/2014 – Ephemeris – Star party and Venus this weekend

March 21, 2014

Ephemeris for Friday, March 21st.  The sun will rise at 7:43.  It’ll be up for 12 hours and 12 minutes, setting at 7:56.   The moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 1:27 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow evening the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will host a star party at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory starting at 9 p.m.  On tap if it’s clear will be the planets Jupiter and Mars.  As it gets darker, the wonders of the winter sky will still be visible, along with those of the spring skies.  The observatory is located south of Traverse City, on Brimley Road between Garfield and Keystone roads.  There is a small admission charge for the college.  For early morning risers the planet Venus will reach its greatest elongation west of the sun tomorrow at an angle of 47 degrees.  From there on late October Venus will appear to be approaching the sun, before emerging into the evening sky.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.


Venus' orbit

Venus at greatest western elongation and its orbit as seen from the earth on March 22, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

The sun looks off-center because we are looking at the orbit from the Earth, and Venus’ orbit is inclined by about 3º from our orbit.  The near side of the orbit is only 25 million miles (40 million km) from Earth and is thus foreshortened.  The part of the orbit right below the Sun is beyond the Sun and about 93 million miles (150 million km) away from us.  Mercury is shown, but not its orbit.

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