Archive for January 8, 2020

01/08/2020 – Ephemeris – Looking for the naked-eye planets

January 8, 2020 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, January 8th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours even, setting at 5:19, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:19. The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 7:15 tomorrow morning.

Let’s look at the naked-eye planets for this week. Venus is our evening star low in the southwest in the early evening. It will set at 8:20 p.m. Saturn sets only 20 minutes after sunset and is not visible. It will pass behind the Sun on the 13th and will then join Jupiter in the morning sky. Jupiter is too close to the Sun in the morning twilight to be seen. Mars is visible in the morning sky and will rise in the east-southeast at 5:02 a.m. It’s not very bright because it’s 198 million (319 million km) miles away, but it’s getting slowly closer to the Earth at the rate of about 4 million miles (6 million km) a week. Mercury is now too close to the Sun to be seen in the morning, but will move into the evening sky on Friday.

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


Venus and the Gibbous Moon in the evening

Venus and the Gibbous Moon in the evening tonight at 7 p.m. January 8, 2020. Orion is still easily spotted in the moonlight. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular Moon this evening

The gibbous Moon as it might appear in binoculars at 7 p.m. January 8, 2019. Created using Stellarium.

Very enlarged Venus

Venus, much larger than it would appear in any telescope to show its gibbous phase, tonight January 8, 2019. Created using Stellarium.

Mars in the morning

Mars in the morning with the bright stars at 7 a.m. January 9, 2020. Note that Mars is approaching the red giant star Antares. The name Antares means “Rival of Mars” (Ant – anti, Ares -the Greek god of war that the Romans appropriated as Mars). Mars will pass 4.8 degrees north of Antares on the 17th. Created using Stellarium.

Planets and the Moon on a single night

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on January 8, 2020. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 9th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.