Archive for January 7, 2015

01/07/2015 – Ephemeris – Lets take our first looks at the bright planets and a pretty bright comet

January 7, 2015 2 comments

Ephemeris for Wednesday, January 7th.  The sun will rise at 8:19.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 59 minutes, setting at 5:18.   The moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 8:10 this evening.

Lets take our first look at the bright planets for 2015.  Mercury is visible below right of Venus by about 2 moon widths low in the southwest shortly after sunset.  On Saturday Mercury will be its closest to Venus.  Mercury will set at 6:38, while Venus will set at 6:44 p.m.  They will be visible low in the southwestern twilight by 6 p.m.  Mars is low in the southwest at 7 p.m. and is in the constellation of Capricornus and will cross the boundary into Aquarius tomorrow. The Red Planet will set tonight at 8:37 p.m.  Jupiter will rise in the east at 8:02 p.m.  It’s near the sickle-shaped head of Leo the lion.  Early risers will be able to spot Saturn which will rise in the east-southeast at 4:46 a.m.  On the 18th it will cross the border from Libra to Scorpius.

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


Quasi-conjunction of Venus and Mercury

Animation of the Quasi-conjunction of Venus and Mercury. Time span 1/05/2015 to 1/15/2015 at 7 p.m. Created by Bob Moler using Stellarium and GIMP.

Note that Mercury gets dimmer as the days go by.  This is because its phase moves from gibbous to half illuminated on the 14th at its greatest elongation from the Sun.


Mars and the setting constellations, with constellation boundaries in red. at 7 p.m. on January 7, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

KJupiter and Moon

Jupiter, the Moon and the winter constellations at 10 p.m. on January 7, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Moon thru binocs

The Moon as seen through binoculars at 10 p.m. on January 7, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Jupiter

Jupiter and its satellites as seen through a telescope at 10 p.m. on January 7, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Saturn in the morning

Saturn and the spring constellations at 7 p.m. on January 8, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Saturn

Saturn and satellites through a telescope at 7 a.m. January 8, 2015. Note that the moons other than Titan will be difficult to spot. Created using Stellarium.

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy)

Comet Lovejoy track

Comet Lovejoy track for January 7 to January 13, 2015. Despite the magnitudes being less than 6, binoculars will, most likely, be needed to spot it. Every other day is marked with month-day and magnitude of the comet.