Archive for March 15, 2017

03/15/2017 – Ephemeris – Wednesday is bright planet day. Do you know where your planets are?

March 15, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, March 15th.  The Sun will rise at 7:54.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 7:48.  The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 11:04 this evening.

It’s dark enough to see the morning planets during these Ephemeris programs again.  But it won’t last.  Jupiter will be seen in the morning in the southwest above the star Spica, with the bright waning gibbous moon above and left of them.  It will rise tonight at 9:50 p.m. in the east.  Saturn can be glimpsed this morning above the Teapot figure of Sagittarius.  It will rise tomorrow at 3:37 a.m. in the east-southeast.  In the evening sky tonight Venus, low in the west, is diving toward the Sun, though it will pass north of the Sun.  Actually the thin crescent is showing it, canted a bit to the left, rather than to the right as you’d expect.  Ten days and it’s officially outta here, and into the morning sky.   Mars is still hanging on, way above Venus in the west.

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


Morning planets

Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon at 7 a.m. this morning, March 15, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and moons this morning

Jupiter and its moons at 7 a.m. (11:00 UT) March 15, 2017. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Telescopic Saturn and moons

Saturn and its brightest moons as they might appear in telescopes this morning at 7:00 a.m. (11:00 UT) March 15, 2017. Shown at the same magnification as Jupiter above for comparison of apparent sizes. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Early evening planets

Venus and Mars in the west at 8:30 p.m. this evening March 15, 2016. Venus is only 10 days from inferior conjunction with the Sun. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Venus

Venus as it might appear in a telescope at 8:30 p.m. March 15, 2017. Created using Hallo Northern Sky.

This is the first time I’ve used an image from Hallo Northern Sky (HNSKY)  I found Hallo Northern Sky a few years ago and found it difficult to use, but its operation has improved with newer releases.  It looks bare bones, like my LookingUp program, but I have yet to plumb all its depths.  It’s really quite sophisticated.  More clinical than pretty.  I have a link to it on the right under Free Astronomical Software.  It produces a better skinny crescent Venus than the other software I have.

Jupiter rising

Jupiter, Spica and the Moon in the eastern sky at 11:30 p.m. tonight March 15, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and moons in the evening.

Jupiter and its Moons tonight March 15, 2017 at 11:30 p.m.. I noticed Europa’s shadow was cast on the planet. It’s a bit too low in the sky to be seen here in northern Michigan, but easier to see east of here, and as it rises higher. See the table of events below. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Europa: Shadow crossing start: 16 Mar 2017 2:46 UT
Europa: Transit start: 16 Mar 2017 3:55 UT, 15 Mar 11:55 p.m. EDT
Europa: Shadow crossing end : 16 Mar 2017 5:15 UT, 1:15 a.m. EDT
Europa: Transit end : 16 Mar 2017 6:15 UT, 2:15 a.m. EDT
Satellite events were obtained from Project Pluto.

Planets and Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on March 15, 2017. The night ends on the left with sunrise on March 16. Note that Venus is visible at both sunrise and sunset at least on these charts. It will rise only 13 minutes before the Sun, so would not actually be visible. Click on image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

Venus appears 8° 20′ north of the ecliptic (path of the Sun in the sky) now.  This is due to the fact that Venus’ orbit is slightly tilted to the Earth’s orbit by 3.3 degrees, and now it is extremely close to us at only 27 million miles (43.5 million km) from us, a lot closer than Mars ever gets to us.