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Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week

August 17, 2022

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Wednesday, August 17th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 57 minutes, setting at 8:45, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:48. The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 11:37 this evening.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Two of the naked-eye planets are in the evening sky: Mercury sets too close to the Sun to be seen in the evening, but as it gets darker, Saturn can be seen low in the southeast. At 6 am tomorrow, the planets will be spread out from brilliant Venus low in the east-northeast to Saturn in the west-southwest. Mars will be a lot higher than Venus in the southeast. Jupiter is farther to the right in the south-southwest. Mars is dimmer than Jupiter, but is slowly getting brighter as the Earth creeps up on it. Saturn ends the line of planets lower than Venus, if it’s visible at all, in the west-southwest, only 5 degrees above a sea, or Lake Michigan horizon.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hours). They may be different for your location.


An animation showing Saturn at 10 pm, along with three zodiacal constellations, with and without labels, just after the end of nautical twilight tonight at 10 pm, August 17, 2022. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

The Moon as it might appear at midnight tonight, August 18, 2022. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic views of Saturn Jupiter and Venus

Views of Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus (north up) as they would be seen in a small telescope, with the same magnification. The times vary for each planet. Jupiter is shown twice, at midnight and 6 am, since its moons, especially Io and Europa, move rapidly. I do not show planets less than 10 seconds of arc in diameter, so Mars doesn’t show up yet. It will soon. Apparent diameters: Saturn 18.76″, its rings 43.70″; Jupiter 47.33″. Mars 9.04″, 84.7% illuminated; Venus 10.31″, 94.3% illuminated. The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree.) Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Planets and the Moon on a single night

The naked-eye planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise on a single night, starting with sunset on the right on August 17, 2022. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 18th. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using my LookingUp program.

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