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Posts Tagged ‘Comet Catalina’

02/17/2016 – Ephemeris – All the bright planets are in the morning sky, but two of them are trying to sneak out

February 17, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, February 17th.  The Sun will rise at 7:40.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 6:13.   The Moon, 2 days past first quarter, will set at 4:39 tomorrow morning.

Let’s check out the whereabouts of the bright naked eye planets.  All the classical planets visible from antiquity are officially now in the morning sky.  Though Mercury is too close to the Sun to be spotted.  Jupiter will rise at 7:57 p.m., in the east.  Jupiter is still a morning planet since it’s not up at sunset.  Mars will rise next at 1:24 a.m. in the east-southeast.  It’s brighter than the bright star Spica growing even farther to the right of it..  Saturn will rise at 3:40 a.m. in the east-southeast.  Venus will rise at 6:27 a.m. again in the east-southeast.  Mercury is too deep in the twilight glare to be seen.  Comet Catalina is up all night and is a binocular object and fading fast.  At 10 p.m. is above the constellation of Cassiopeia and right of Perseus.

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

Addendum

Jupiter and he Moon

Jupiter, the Moon and the bright winter stars at 10 p.m. February 17, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

The Moon

The Moon as it might be seen in binoculars at 10 p.m. February 17, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and Moons

Jupiter and its moons as they would be seen in a telescope, at 10 p.m. February 17, 2016. Jupiter has an apparent diameter of 43.9″ Created using Stellarium.

Morning planets

Morning planets and the bright s tar preview of summer. Mercury, though labeled can’t compete with the bright twilight. Observers south of here may have better luck. At 7 a.m. February 18, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Mars

Mars in a telescope at high power. It’s apparent diameter is 7.9″. At 6 a.m. February 18, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

Saturn and its moons

Saturn and its large satellite Titan and other moons as they should appear in a telescope at 6 a.m. February 18, 2016. The planet is 16.2″ in diameter while the rigs span 37.8″. Created using Stellarium.

Comet Catalins track

Comet Catalina’s path for the next week. Note that it is fading fast. It will take binoculars or a small telescope to spot the comet which will not show a tail visually. Created using Stellarium.

Planets at sunrise and sunset

This is a chart showing the sunrise and sunset skies for February 17, 2016 showing the location of the planets, the Moon and Comet Catalina at that time. Created using my LookingUp program.

Some of these images above are shown smaller than actual size.  Image expansion lately hasn’t worked.  If you are using Firefox, right-click on the image, and then click on View Image.

02/01/2016 – Ephemeris – Previewing February

February 1, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, February 1st.  The Sun will rise at 8:02.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:50.   The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 2:34 tomorrow morning.

Let’s preview the month of February.  It will be a day longer this year because it’s a leap year, the adjustment to keep the calendar in sync with the seasons.  The daylight hours throughout February will be getting longer.  Daylight hours will increase from 9 hours and 48 minutes today to 11 hours and 8 minutes on the 29th. The altitude of the sun at noon will increase from 28 degrees tomorrow to nearly 38 degrees at month’s end.  The straits area will see the sun a degree lower.  Local noon, by the way for Interlochen and Traverse City is about 12:56 p.m, which is mainly due to the fact that our standard time meridian happens to run through Philadelphia and the Sun is currently running 13 minutes slow.

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

Addenda

February Star Chart

February Star Chart

Star Chart for February 2016. Created using my LookingUp program. To enlarge in Firefox Right-click on image then click View image.

The planets and stars are plotted for the 15th at 9 p.m. EST.  That is chart time.  Note, Traverse City is located 45 minutes behind our time meridian.  To duplicate the star positions on a planisphere you may have to set it to 45 minutes earlier than the current time.

Evening astronomical twilight ends at 6:56 p.m. EST on January 1st, increasing to 7:33 p.m. EST on the 29th.

Morning astronomical twilight starts at 6:56 a.m. EST on January 1st, and decreasing to 6:18 a.m. EST on the 29th.

Add a half hour to the chart time every week before the 15th and subtract and hour for every week after the 15th.

For a list of constellation names to go with the abbreviations click here.

  • Pointer stars at the front of the bowl of the Big Dipper point to Polaris the North Star
  • A leaky Big Dipper drips on Leo

Calendar of Planetary Events

Credit:  Sky Events Calendar by Fred Espenak and Sumit Dutta (NASA’s GSFC)

To generate your own calendar go to http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SKYCAL/SKYCAL.html

Times are Eastern Time.  Some additions made to aid clarity.

     Date   Local    Event
            Time EST
Feb  01  Mo  3:48 am Moon-Mars: 3° S
     01  Mo          Venus: 31.4° W
     03  We  2:05 pm Moon-Saturn: 3.8° S
     04  Th 11:34 pm Moon South Dec.: 18.3° S
     06  Sa  2:32 am Moon-Venus: 4.5° S
     06  Sa 11:47 am Moon-Mercury: 3.9° S
     06  Sa  7:59 pm Mercury Greatest Elongation: 25.6° West
     08  Mo  9:39 am New Moon
     10  We  3:46 pm Moon Descending Node
     10  We  9:42 pm Moon Perigee: 364400 km
     12  Fr  9:32 pm Mercury-Venus: 4° N
     15  Mo  2:46 am First Quarter
     16  Tu  2:41 am Moon-Aldebaran: 0.4° S
     17  We  6:18 pm Moon North Dec.: 18.3° N
     22  Mo  7:48 am Moon-Regulus: 2.7° N
     22  Mo  1:20 pm Full Moon
     23  Tu 10:58 pm Moon-Jupiter: 1.9° N
     24  We  1:10 am Moon Ascending Node
     26  Fr 10:28 pm Moon Apogee: 405400 km
     28  Su 10:17 am Neptune Solar Conjunction
     29  Mo  1:16 pm Moon-Mars: 3.9° S
Mar  01  Tu          Venus: 24.9° W

Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina)

Comet Catalina's track for February

The track of Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) for February 2016. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

The comet magnitudes, given after the date, are now pretty much on track.  Comet is plotted every day at 10 p.m. EST (3 hr UT the next day). To monitor the brightness reports from observers go to http://www.aerith.net/comet/catalog/2013US10/2013US10.html.

01/20/2016 – Ephemeris – The planet action is in the morning sky

January 20, 2016 Comments off

Update:  This is the proper text for today

Ephemeris for Wednesday, January 20th.  The Sun will rise at 8:13.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 20 minutes, setting at 5:34.   The Moon, 3 days before full, will set at 5:51 tomorrow morning.

Let’s check out the whereabouts of the bright naked eye planets.  All the classical planets visible from antiquity are now in the morning sky.  However Mercury is too close to the Sun, and may remain too low in the sky to spot when it’s farther from the Sun.  Jupiter will be the first to rise, actually at 10 p.m., in the east.  It’s still a morning planet since it’s not up at sunset.  Mars will rise next at 2:03 a.m. in the east-southeast.  It’s below and left of the bright star Spica.  Saturn will rise at 4:55 a.m. in the east-southeast.  Venus will rise at 6 a.m. again in the east-southeast.  Comet Catalina is a binocular object between the bowls of the Big and Little Dippers.  It’s heading across the tail of Draco the dragon.

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

 

Morning planets

Here of the morning planets. From right to left, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Venus. Time: 6:30 a.m., January 21, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Saturn

Jupiter and its 4 Galilean moons at 6:30 a.m., January 21, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Saturn

Saturn and its moons at a greater magnification as for Jupiter above at 6:30 a.m., January 21, 2016. Small telescopes will show only the moon Titan. Created using Stellarium.

Comet Catalina

Comet Catalina’s path for the next week. Note the magnitudes for the comet are about correct. It will take binoculars or a small telescope to spot the comet which will not show a tail visually. Created using Stellarium.

Sunrise and Sunset sky

This is a chart showing the sunrise and sunset skies for January 20, 2016 showing the location of the planets, the Moon and Comet Catalina at that time. Created using my LookingUp program.

The top and bottom images above are shown smaller than actual size.  Image expansion lately hasn’t worked.  If you are using Firefox, right-click on the image, and then click on View Image.

01/15/2016 – Ephemeris – The Comet Catalina is closest to the Earth this weekend

January 15, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, January 15th.  The Sun will rise at 8:16.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 11 minutes, setting at 5:27.   The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 12:19 tomorrow morning.

Comet Catalina is near its brightest now that it’s closest to the Earth, or will be Sunday at about 67 million miles (108 million km), about three-quarters the distance to the Sun.  It is also circumpolar, staying up all night for the entire IPR listening area.  That’s not as big a deal as it sounds because the Moon won’t set till after midnight and it’s getting brighter as it moves to become full in a couple of weeks.  So the best views are still in the morning for the next week.  The comet can be spotted in binoculars as a fuzzy spot.  The comet is now nearest the star Mizar in the bend of the Big Dipper’s handle.  It’s slowly moving to split the distance between the Big and Little Dippers between now and the end of the month.  Good comet hunting!

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

Addendum

Comet Catalina

Comet Catalina closest weekend to the Earth. Comet positions are for 4 a.m. January 16 to 19, 2016. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Comet Catalina's Orbit

Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) at its closest approach to the Earth on January 17, 2016 of 0.725 AU, 67 million miles or 108 million kilometers. Credit NASA/JPL.

01/13/2016 – Ephemeris – Four bright planets are in the morning sky but one more is hiding

January 13, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, January 13th.  The Sun will rise at 8:17.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 7 minutes, setting at 5:25.   The Moon, 3 days before first quarter, will set at 9:57 this evening.

Let’s check out the whereabouts of the bright naked eye planets.  Mercury is now only one day from inferior conjunction, passing between the Earth and the Sun.  The next inferior conjunction after this, May 9th Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun.  In the morning sky there are four bright planets.  Jupiter will be the first to rise, actually at 10:28 p.m., in the east.  Mars will rise next at 2:11 a.m. in the east-southeast.  It’s left of the bright star Spica.  Saturn will rise at 5:19 a.m.  Venus will rise at 5:47 a.m. again in the east-southeast, following Saturn.  Comet Catalina is a binocular object near the star at the end of the handle of the Big Dipper named Alkaid.  It’s heading to go between the Big and Little Dippers this week.

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

Addendum

Morning Planets

Here of the morning planets. From right to left, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Venus. Time: 6:30 a.m., January 14, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Jupiter

Jupiter and its 4 Galilean moons at 6:30 a.m., January 14, 2016. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Telescopic Saturn

Saturn and its moons through a telescope at 6:30 a.m., January 14, 2016. Small telescopes will show only the moon Titan. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Comet Catalina track for the next week

Comet Catalina’s path for the next week. Note the magnitudes for the comet are about correct. It will take binoculars or a small telescope to spot the comet which will not show a tail visually. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Sunrise and Sunset sky

This is a chart showing the sunrise and sunset skies for January 13, 2016 showing the location of the planets, the Moon and Comet Catalina at that time. Created using my LookingUp program.

Several of the images above are shown smaller than actual size.  Image expansion lately hasn’t worked.  If you are using Firefox, right-click on the image, and then click on View Image.

01/01/2016 – Ephemeris – Happy New Year – It’s a busy few days to start off the year

January 1, 2016 Comments off

Happy New Year.  This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for New Years Day, Friday, January 1st, 2016.  The Sun will rise at 8:20.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 52 minutes, setting at 5:12.   The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 12:54 tomorrow morning.

It’s always a busy time, astronomically speaking, around the start of the year.  This year even more so.  Comet Catalina is found near the bright star Arcturus now, which is a good way to find it in binoculars.  Tomorrow at 7:59 p.m. (1:59 UT 3rd) the Earth will reach perihelion, the closest point in its orbit to the Sun at about 91.4 million miles (0.9833 AU).  It doesn’t add much to the heat we get from the Sun, but it does make winter a couple of days shorter than summer.  Monday at 3 a.m. will see the peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower.  Unfortunately that’s about the time the Moon will rise.  The radiant is north of the handle of the Big Dipper.  Good news:  tomorrow is the latest sunrise, it should be rising earlier until June.

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

Addenda

January Star Chart

Javnuary Star Chart

Star Chart for January 2016. Created using my LookingUp program. To enlarge in Firefox Right-click on image then click View Image.

The planets and stars are plotted for the 15th at 9 p.m. EST.  That is chart time.  Note, Traverse City is located 45 minutes behind our time meridian.  To duplicate the star positions on a planisphere you may have to set it to 45 minutes earlier than the current time.

Evening astronomical twilight ends at 6:22 p.m. EST on January 1st, increasing to 6:55 p.m. EST on the 31st.

Morning astronomical twilight starts at 7:09 a.m. EST on January 1st, and decreasing to 6:57 a.m. EST on the 31st.

Add a half hour to the chart time every week before the 15th and subtract and hour for every week after the 15th.

For a list of constellation names to go with the abbreviations click here.

  • Pointer stars at the front of the bowl of the Big Dipper point to Polaris the North Star.
  • QuadR is the Quadrantid meteor shower radiant

Calendar of Planetary Events

Credit:  Sky Events Calendar by Fred Espenak and Sumit Dutta (NASA’s GSFC)

To generate your own calendar go to http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SKYCAL/SKYCAL.html

Times are Eastern Time.  Some additions made to aid clarity.

     Date   Local      Event
            Time EST
Jan  01  Fr            Venus: 37.9° W
     02  Sa 12:30 a.m. Last Quarter
     02  Sa  6:53 a.m. Moon Apogee: 404300 km
     02  Sa  7:59 p.m. Perihelion: 0.9833 AU
     03  Su  1:45 p.m. Moon-Mars: 1.6° S
     04  Mo  3:01 a.m. Quadrantid Shower: ZHR = 120
     06  We  6:57 p.m. Moon-Venus: 3.3° S
     06  We 11:57 p.m. Moon-Saturn: 3.6° S
     07  Th  6:32 a.m. Venus-Antares: 6.4° N
     08  Fr 12:56 p.m. Moon South Dec.: 18.4° S
     09  Sa  2:42 a.m. Venus-Saturn: 0.1° N
     09  Sa  8:30 p.m. New Moon
     14  Th  9:02 a.m. Mercury Inferior Conj.
     14  Th 10:48 a.m. Moon Descending Node
     14  Th  9:10 p.m. Moon Perigee: 369600 km
     16  Sa  6:26 p.m. First Quarter
     19  Tu  9:16 p.m. Moon-Aldebaran: 0.5° S (Occultation*)
     21  Th 11:41 a.m. Moon North Dec.: 18.4° N
     23  Sa  8:46 p.m. Full Moon
     26  Tu 12:10 a.m. Moon-Regulus: 2.8° N
     27  We  6:58 p.m. Moon Ascending Node
     27  We  8:14 p.m. Moon-Jupiter: 1.6° N
     30  Sa  4:10 a.m. Moon Apogee: 404600 km
     31  Su 10:28 p.m. Last Quarter
Feb  01  Mo            Venus: 31.4° W

* Occultation of Aldebaran For the Grand Traverse Area ± 1-2 minutes:
Disappearance 9:06 p.m.  Reappearance 10:25 p.m.  I’ll have more information on the 19th.

Occultation Map

Occultation Map

Occultation visibility map for January 20, 2016 (UT). Credit IOTA/Occult4 program.

Estimating occultation timings for your location

I used Cartes du Ciel the free software that I have a link to on the right.  Make sure that the program is set for topocentric positions under Setup/Solar System.  And you have entered your position under Setup/Observatory.  You can find your location in Google Earth, or your GPS device or smart phone.

You can also use Stellarium.  Just make sure the Moon is normal sized.

In both programs you can lock the Moon or Aldebaran in the center of the screen Pick a time in advance of the occultation and using the set time window walk the star towards the Moon, mark the time.  Then walk the star out from the Moon and record the reappearance time.  That’s it.

This should work with other planetarium programs too.

For better accuracy go to the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) website.  Download and install their Occult4 program for Windows computers.  Follow the instructions.  When I ran the program for my location, the location I use for Interlochen/Traverse City (Since I live approximately half-way between the two).  I got results within a half-minute of the IOTA Occult4 program results.  So the approximation method using these planetarium programs is valid.

Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina)

Comet Catalina January 2016

The track of Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) for January 2016. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

The comet is roughly one magnitude fainter than given.  Comet is plotted every day at 4 a.m. EST (9 hr UT) with the date and magnitude labeled every 5th day.  According to the brightness graph the comet began to under perform in brightness back in September, however, according to a new brightness formula the comet may increase in brightness by a magnitude by late February when it will be well placed for viewing all night. To monitor the brightness reports from observers go to http://www.aerith.net/comet/catalog/2013US10/2013US10.html.

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12/30/2015 – Ephemeris – Last look at the bright planets for this year

December 30, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, December 30th.  The Sun will rise at 8:19.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 50 minutes, setting at 5:10.   The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 10:58 this evening.

Let’s check out the whereabouts of the bright naked eye planets.  Mercury moved to its greatest separation from the Sun Monday night.  It will be visible very low in the southwest before it sets at 6:42 p.m. in the west-southwest.  In the morning sky there are four bright planets.  Jupiter will be the first to rise, actually at 11:23 p.m., in the east.  Tomorrow it will be just left of the Moon.  Mars will rise next at 2:27 a.m. also in the east.  It’s left of the bright star Spica.  Venus will rise at 5:11 a.m. in the east-southeast.  Saturn will rise at 6:10 a.m. in the east-southeast.  Comet Catalina is a binocular object just below the bright star Arcturus, which is pointed to by the arc of the handle of the Big Dipper.

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

Addendum

Mercury

Mercury at 6 p.m., 50 minutes after sunset, December 30, 2015. It may be visible as early as 5:30. Binoculars will help. Created using Stellarium.

Morning planets

The morning planets, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Saturn, plus Comet Catalina at 7 a.m. December 31, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and the Moon

Jupiter and the Moon tomorrow morning December 31, 2015 at 7 a.m. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Jupiter

Telescopic view of Jupiter at 7 a.m. December 31, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Venus

Telescopic view of Venus at 7 a.m. December 31, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Saturn

Telescopic view of Saturn at 7 a.m. December 31, 2015. The satellites would be pretty much invisible except for Titan with Saturn low in the sky in twilight. Created using Stellarium.

The three planet telescopic views are shown to the same scale, that is seen with the same magnification.

Comet Catalina Track

Comet Catalina’s path for the next week. Note the magnitudes for the comet are about 1 magnitude too bright. It will take binoculars or a small telescope to spot the comet which will not show a tail visually. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts)..

The planets at sunrise and sunset

This is a chart showing the sunrise and sunset skies for December 30, 2015 showing the location of the planets, the Moon and Comet Catalina at that time. Created using my LookingUp program.

Several of the images above are shown smaller than actual size.  Image expansion lately hasn’t worked.  If you are using Firefox, right-click on the image, and then click on View Image.

12/23/2015 – Ephemeris – Only Mercury is making a stand in the evening sky

December 23, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, December 23rd.  The Sun will rise at 8:17.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:05.   The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 7:04 tomorrow morning.

Let’s check out the whereabouts of the bright naked eye planets.  Mercury is becoming marginally visible very low in the southwest before it sets at 6:24 p.m. in the west-southwest.  In the morning sky there are four bright planets.  Jupiter will be the first to rise, actually at 11:49 p.m., in the east.  Mars will rise next at 2:33 a.m. also in the east, Venus will rise at 5 a.m. in the east-southeast.  Even as Venus and Jupiter separate Mars still lies almost halfway between the two.  Don’t confuse Mars with the star Spica which is brighter and below right of it.  Saturn will rise at 6:30 a.m. in the east-southeast.  Comet Catalina is a binocular object about three widths of a fist held at arm’s length directly above Venus at 6 a.m.

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

Addendum

Mercury

Mercury at 6 p.m., 55 minutes after sunset, December 23, 2015. It may be visible as early as 5:30. Binoculars will help. Created using Stellarium.

Morning Planets

The morning planets, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Saturn, plus Comet Catalina at 7 a.m. December 24, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Jupiter

Telescopic view of Jupiter at 7 a.m. December 24, 2015. Note Europa is in transit of Jupiter at that time and would pretty much be invisible. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Venus

Telescopic view of Venus at 7 a.m. December 24, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Saturn

Telescopic view of Saturn at 7 a.m. December 24, 2015. The satellites would be pretty much invisible in the twilight. Created using Stellarium.

Note that the planets shown as they would be seen in telescopes at the same magnification.

The planets at sunrise and sunset

This is a chart showing the sunrise and sunset skies for December 23, 2015 showing the location of the planets and the Moon at that time. Created using my LookingUp program.

A note on enlarging the pictures:  Apparently WordPress is not able to enlarge pictures by clicking on them.  However if you are using Firefox and you right-click on an image, select View Image to show the image up to full size.

12/16/2015 – Ephemeris – The planet action is still in the morning

December 16, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, December 16th.  The Sun will rise at 8:13.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:02.   The Moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 10:57 this evening.

Let’s check out the whereabouts of the bright naked eye planets.  Mercury is becoming marginally visible very low in the southwest before it sets at 6 p.m.  In the morning sky there are three bright planets.  Jupiter will be the first to rise, at 12:15 a.m. in the east.  Mars will rise next at 2:39 a.m. also in the east, followed by Venus at 4:41 a.m. in the east-southeast.  Mars lies in line between Venus below and Jupiter above, almost halfway between the two.  Don’t confuse Mars with the star Spica which is brighter and right below it.  Saturn will rise at  6:54 a.m. in the east-southeast.  Comet Catalina is a telescopic object about one and a half the width of a fist held at arm’s length above Venus and the same amount left of Mars.

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

Addendum

Moon

The moon as it might look in binoculars at 8 p.m., December 16, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Morning planets

The Morning planets at 7 a.m., December 17, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Jupiter

Jupiter and moons in a telescope at 7 a.m. December 17, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Venus

Venus as seen in a telescope as seen at the same magnification as Jupiter above, at 7 a,m. December 17, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Comet Catalina Track

Comet Catalina and Mars for the next week. Note the magnitudes for the comet are about 1 magnitude too bright. It will take binoculars or a small telescope to spot the comet which will not show a tail visually. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Planets at sunrise and sunset

This is a chart showing the sunrise and sunset skies for December 16, 2015 showing the location of the planets and the Moon at that time. Created using my LookingUp program. Click on the image to enlarge.

12/09/2015 – Ephemeris – The planet action is in the morning sky

December 9, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, December 9th.  The Sun will rise at 8:07.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 5:02.  We’re at the time of the earliest sunset.   The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 7:02 tomorrow morning.

Let’s check out the whereabouts of the bright naked eye planets.  Saturn and Mercury are too close to the direction of the Sun to be seen now.  In the morning sky there are three bright planets.  Jupiter will be the first to rise, at 12:39 a.m. in the east.  Mars will rise next at 2:47 a.m. in the east, followed by Venus at 4:28 a.m. also in the east.  Mars lies in line between Venus below and Jupiter above, almost halfway between the two.  Don’t confuse Mars with the star Spica which is brighter and closer to Venus.  Comet Catalina will be about half the width of a fist held at arm’s length above and left of Venus and will slowly be moving farther above Venus as the days go by.

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

Addendum

Morning Planets

Jupiter, Mars and Venus appear with Comet Catalina in the southeast at 6 a.m., December 10, 2015. Comet Catalina is much fainter than shown and only sports a tail in photographs. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Jupiter

Jupiter and moons in a telescope at 6 a.m. December 10, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Venus

Venus as seen in a telescope as seen at the same magnification as Jupiter above, at 6 a,m. December 10, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Track of Comet Catalina

Comet Catalina and Venus for the next week. Note the magnitudes for the comet are about 2 magnitude too bright. It will take binoculars or a small telescope to spot the comet which will not show a tail visually. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Planets at sunrise and sunset_111815

This is a chart showing the sunrise and sunset skies for December 9, 2015 showing the location of the planets and the Moon at that time. Created using my LookingUp program. Click on the image to enlarge.