Archive for January 3, 2018

01/03/2018 – Ephemeris – The year starts out with all the bright planets in the morning sky

January 3, 2018 1 comment

Ephemeris for Wednesday, January 3rd. The Sun will rise at 8:20. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 5:14. The Moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 7:30 this evening.

Let’s take our weekly look at the bright planets. While Uranus and Neptune are evening planets, they require binoculars or a telescope to spot. All of the bright naked eye planets are in the morning sky now, However Saturn and Venus, the brightest, are too close to the Sun to be seen. At 7 this morning Mars is in the south-southeast while Jupiter is a lot brighter and below and left of it. Mars will rise tomorrow morning at 3:45. It’s approaching Jupiter which will rise 6 minutes later at 3:51. They will cross paths this weekend, I’ll have more on that tomorrow. Mercury will be a challenge to spot, rising in the east-southeast around 6:38 a.m. now. At 7 a.m. It will require a low horizon, binoculars and luck to find. In its next evening appearance in March it will be placed much higher in the sky for the same twilight conditions.

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


Morning planets

Three morning planets are visible at 7 this morning. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and its moons

Jupiter and three of its four Galilean moons as they might be seen in a telescope at 7 a.m. this morning, January 3, 2018. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Event                      UT        EST      
Europa Eclipse starts:    7:51
Io Eclipse starts:        8:35
Io Occultation ends:     11:45    6:45 a.m.
Europa Occultation ends: 12:12    7:12 a.m.

Only the last two events will be visible in the Grand Traverse area.  Occultations now have the moon enter Jupiter’s shadow to the west, then unseen pass behind the planet to emerge at the east edge of the planet.

Binocular Moon

The only bright solar system object visible in the evening is the waning gibbous Moon. Binoculars will reveal several large craters. this evening January 3, 2018. Created using Stellarium.

Planets at sunset and sunrise of a single night

Planets at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on January 3, 2017. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 4th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.