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05/12/2021 – Ephemeris – Searching for the naked-eye planets for this week

May 12, 2021 Leave a comment

This is Ephemeris for Wednesday, May 12th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 43 minutes, setting at 9:01, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:16. The Moon, 1 day past new, will set at 10:06 this evening.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Mars will be joined by two more planets seen in twilight. Both Mercury and Venus are now just above where the Sun set. By 9:30 pm Mercury should be able to be spotted low in the west-northwest. Venus might be spotted lower and somewhat earlier. Venus will be setting at 10:02 pm with Mercury following at 11 pm. Mars can be found in the west at 10 pm tonight, in the constellation of Gemini the twins. Tonight it’s in the middle of the constellation. Mars will set at 1:02 am. Jupiter and Saturn, are in the morning sky. Saturn will rise at 2:30 am, with brighter Jupiter rising at 3:13 am. By 5:30 am they will be low in the southeast in the morning twilight.

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

Addendum

Mercury and Venus low in the west-northwest tonight at 9:30 pm or a half hour after sunset. The one-day-old Moon appears just to the left of Venus. Mercury will be 14 degrees above the Lake Michigan horizon, and Venus only 5 degrees. By tomorrow night, the Moon will be to the left of Mercury. Created using Stellarium.
Mars finder animation for 10:30 pm tonight or about an hour and a half after sunset. Bonus: Mercury is still up. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.
Jupiter and Saturn in morning twilight tomorrow morning May 23, 2021. Created using Stellarium.
Saturn and Jupiter as seen in a small telescope at the same magnification. Apparent diameters: Saturn, 17.05″, rings, 39.71″; Jupiter, 38.83″. Mars is too far away to make out detail on its surface, except maybe a polar cap. Its apparent diameter is 4.43″. Venus’ apparent diameter is 9.97″ and will be added when it gets far enough from the Sun to be easily seen. Mercury’s apparent diameter is 7.29″. The cutoff for whether to show a planet here is an apparent diameter of 10″ or greater. The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree). Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).
Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on May 12, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 13th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

04/28/2021 – Ephemeris – Searching for the naked-eye planets for this week

April 28, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Wednesday, April 28th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 7 minutes, setting at 8:44, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:35. The Moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 11:06 this evening.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Unfortunately the only one you’ll find in the evening is Mars. It can be found in the west at 10 pm tonight, in the constellation of Gemini the twins. Tonight it’s just above Castor’s foot. Mars will set at 1:21 am. Both Venus and Mercury are now just east of the Sun and to close to it to be spotted. Venus will be setting 43 minutes after sunset, with Mercury setting 27 minutes later. We should start spotting Mercury next week. It will be late May or early June before Venus will be easily seen. Jupiter and Saturn, are west of the Sun in the morning twilight. Saturn will rise at 3:24 am, with Jupiter rising at 4:03 am. By 6 am they will be low in the southeast. Jupiter, on the left, is the brighter of the two.

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

Venus and Mercury marginally visible over a Lake Michigan horizon 16 minutes after sunset at 9 pm tonight April 28, 2021. Venus will be 4 degrees altitude, Mercury will be 7 degrees altitude.
Mars finder animation for 10 pm tonight, April 28, 2021. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.
The waning gibbous Moon as it might be seen in binoculars or small telescope at midnight overnight April 29, 2021. Created using Stellarium.
Jupiter and Saturn in the morning twilight of 6 am tomorrow morning, April 29, 2021. Created using Stellarium.
Saturn and Jupiter as seen in a small telescope at the same magnification. Apparent diameters: Saturn, 16.65″, rings, 38.78″; Jupiter, 37.26″. Mars is too far away to make out detail on its surface, except maybe a polar cap. Its apparent diameter is 4.67″. Venus’ apparent diameter is 9.81″ and will be added next week. Mercury’s apparent diameter is 6.2″. The cutoff for whether to show a planet here is an apparent diameter of 10″ or greater. The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree). Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).
Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on April 28, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 29th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

04/21/2021 – Ephemeris – Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week

April 21, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Wednesday, April 21st. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 47 minutes, setting at 8:35, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:46. The Moon, 1 day past first quarter, will set at 4:56 tomorrow morning.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Unfortunately the only one you’ll find in the evening is Mars. It can be found in the west at 10 pm tonight, between the constellations of Taurus the bull below and Gemini the twins above. Tonight it’s just off Castor’s big toe. Mars will set at 1:30 am. Venus is now just east of the Sun, setting 31 minutes after sunset. It will be late May or early June before it will be easily spotted in the evening twilight. Mercury is between the Sun and Venus. Saturn and Jupiter are at a far enough angle from the Sun to be spotted in the morning twilight. Saturn will rise at 3:51 am, with Jupiter rising at 4:28 am. By 6 am they will be low in the southeast.

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

Addendum

Mars and the Moon with the fleeing stars of winter tonight at 10 pm, April 21, 2021. Created using Stellarium.
The moon as it might appear tonight, April 21, 2021. Created using Stellarium.
Jupiter and Saturn in the morning twilight tomorrow morning, April 22, 2021. Created using Stellarium.
Saturn and Jupiter as seen in a small telescope at the same magnification. Apparent diameters: Saturn, 16.46″, rings, 38.36″; Jupiter, 36.55″. Mars is too far away to make out detail on its surface, except maybe a polar cap. Its apparent diameter is 4.81″. The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree.) Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).
Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on April 21, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 22nd. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

04/14/2021 – Ephemeris – Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week

April 14, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Wednesday, April 14th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 27 minutes, setting at 8:27, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:58. The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 11:11 this evening.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Unfortunately the only one you’ll find in the evening is Mars. It can be found in the west at 10 pm tonight, between the constellations of Taurus the bull below and Gemini the twins above. Mars will set at 1:39 am. Venus is now just east of the Sun, setting 23 minutes after sunset. It will be late May or early June before it will be easily spotted in the evening twilight. The other three naked-eye planets are west of the Sun in the morning sky. Only Saturn and Jupiter are at a far enough angle from the Sun to be spotted in the morning twilight. Saturn will rise at 4:17 am, with Jupiter rising at 4:53 am. By 6 am they will be low in the southeast.

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

Addendum

Mars and the Moon finder
Mars and the Moon finder with the fleeing star of winter in the western sky near the end of twilight. The time will be 10 pm, April 14, 2021. The Moon is an actual crescent as seen below. Created using Stellarium.
Binocular Moon
The crescent Moon showing earth shine at 10 pm April 14, 2021. Created using Stellarium.
Jupiter and Saturn Jupiter ans Saturn in the morning
Jupiter and Saturn low in the southeastern sky at 6 am, about an hour before sunrise tomorrow morning April 15, 2021. Created using Stellarium.
Jupiter and Saturn through a telescope
Jupiter and Saturn as seen in a small telescope at the same magnification. Apparent diameters: Jupiter, 35.90″; Saturn, 16.27″, rings, 37.91″. Mars is too far away to make out detail on its surface, except maybe a polar cap. Its apparent diameter is 4.96″. The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree.) Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).
The Moon and planets on a single night
Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on April 14, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 15th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

04/07/2021 – Ephemeris – Three naked-eye planets are visible overnight

April 7, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Wednesday, April 7th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 6 minutes, setting at 8:18, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:10. The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 6:14 tomorrow morning.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Unfortunately, the only one you’ll find in the evening is Mars. It can be found in the west at 10 pm tonight, above the orange star Aldebaran in the face of Taurus the bull. Mars will set at 1:47 am. Venus is now just a bit east of the Sun, setting fourteen minutes after sunset. It will be late May or early June before it will be easily spotted in the evening twilight. The other three naked-eye planets are just west of the Sun in the Morning sky. Only Saturn and Jupiter are at a far enough angle from the Sun to be spotted in the morning twilight. Saturn will rise at 4:43 am, with Jupiter rising 34 minutes later. By 6:30 am they will be low in the southeast.

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

Addendum

Mars in the evening sky
Mars as it would be seen in the west above the star Aldebaran between the constellations of Taurus, Auriga, and Orion at 10 pm this evening, April 7, 2021. Created using Stellarium.
Jupiter and Saturn in the morning sky
Jupiter, Saturn with the thin crescent Moon just rising at 6:30 am for early risers tomorrow at 6:30 am. Created using Stellarium.
Jupiter and Saturn as seen in a telescope
Jupiter and Saturn as seen in a small telescope at the same magnification. Apparent diameters: Jupiter, 35.30″; Saturn, 16.10″, rings, 37.51″. Mars is too far away to make out detail on its surface, except maybe a polar cap. Its apparent diameter is 5.13″. The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree.) Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).
Planets and the 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 April 7, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 8th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

03/31/2021 – Ephemeris – Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week

March 31, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Wednesday, March 31st. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 44 minutes, setting at 8:09, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:23. The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 12:11 tomorrow morning.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Unfortunately the only one you’ll find in the evening is Mars. It can be found in the west-southwest at 9 pm tonight, above the orange star Aldebaran in the face of Taurus the bull. Mars will set at 1:54 am. Right now three of the other four naked eye planets are just west of the Sun in the Morning sky. Venus is now below and just a bit east of the Sun, setting four minutes after sunset. Only Saturn and Jupiter are at a far enough angle from the Sun to be just spotted in the morning twilight. Saturn will rise at 5:10 am, with Jupiter rising 31 minutes later. By 6:30 am they will be low in the southeast. The Sun is rising earlier by 2 minutes a day now, while sunset is nearly matching that pace in the opposite direction.

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

Addendum

Mars in the evening
Mars with nearby stars n the fading twilight of 9 pm, about 50 minutes after sunset, tonight March 31, 2021. Created using Stellarium.
Saturn and Jupiter low in the sky at 6 am tomorrow, April 1, 2021, about an hour and a half before sunrise. Created using Stellarium.
The waning gibbous Moon as it might appear in a small telescope or binoculars
The waning gibbous Moon as it might appear in a small telescope or binoculars at 6 am tomorrow, April 1, 2021. Created using Stellarium.

The new version of Stellarium I’m using, 0.21.0, has new textures for the Moon that are more realistic and show finer detail than earlier versions. If the Moon is enlarged to fill the window, clicking on a feature will reveal its name.

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on March 31, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on April 1st. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

03/24/2021 – Ephemeris – Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week

March 24, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Wednesday, March 24th. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 22 minutes, setting at 8:00, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:36. The Moon, 3 days past first quarter, will set at 6:26 tomorrow morning.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Unfortunately the only one you’ll find in the evening is Mars. It can be found high in the west-southwest at 9 pm tonight, above the orange star Aldebaran in the face of Taurus the bull, between it and the much higher star Capella in the west northwest. Mars will set at 2:01 am. Right now three of the other four naked eye planets are just west of the Sun in the Morning sky. Venus is now below and just a bit west of the Sun. Only Saturn and Jupiter are at a far enough angle from the Sun to be just spotted in the morning twilight. Saturn will rise at 5:35 am, with Jupiter rising a half hour later. By 7 am they will be low in the southeast.

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

Addendum

Mars in the evening

Mars appears above Aldebaran and the letter V of stars of the Hyades which is the face of Taurus the bull tonight March 24, 2021. This image is for 9 pm. or about an hour after sunset. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular Moon

The waxing gibbous Moon as it might be seen in binoculars tonight at 9 pm, March 24, 2021. Created using Stellarium.

Morning planets

Jupiter and Saturn low in the southeast at 7 am tomorrow morning, March 25, 2021. Note that they will probably appear dimmer than shown. 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 March 24, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 25th. Venus is too close and south of the Sun to be plotted. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

03/17/2021 – Ephemeris – Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week

March 17, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for St. Patrick’s Day, Wednesday, March 17th. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and one minute, setting at 7:51, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:49. The Moon, halfway from new to first quarter, will set at 12:18 tomorrow morning.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Unfortunately the only one you’ll find in the evening is Mars. It can be found high in the west-southwest at 9 pm tonight, above a line between the Pleiades star cluster on its lower right and the letter V of stars that is the face of Taurus the bull on its lower left. The Pleiades will be above tonight’s waxing crescent Moon. Mars will set at 2:07 am.

Right now the other four naked eye planets are just west of the Sun in the Morning sky. But only Saturn and Jupiter are at a far enough angle from the Sun to be just be glimpsed in the morning sky. Saturn will rise at 6 am, with Jupiter a half hour later. By 7 am they will be low in the southeast.

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

Addendum

Mars finder animation

Mars finder animation for 9 pm, or about 70 minutes after sunset, tonight March 17, 2021. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Binocular Moon

The Moon as it might appear tonight, March 17, 2021, in binoculars or a small telescope. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and Saturn tomorrow morning

Jupiter and Saturn tomorrow morning at 7 am, March 18, 2021. Created by 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 March 17, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 18th. Venus is too close and south of the Sun to be plotted. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

Venus in SOHO LASCO C3 image

Venus in the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) LASCO C3 image. It will pass south and behind the Sun on the 26th and officially enter the evening sky.

03/10/2021 – Ephemeris – Searching for the naked-eye planets for this week

March 10, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Wednesday, March 10th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 39 minutes, setting at 6:42, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:01. The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 6:43 tomorrow morning.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Unfortunately the only one you’ll find in the evening is Mars. It can be found high in the west-southwest at 8 pm tonight, between the Pleiades star cluster on its right and the letter V of stars that is the face of Taurus the bull on its left. Mars will set at 1:13 am. Right now the other four naked eye planets are just west of the Sun in the Morning sky. But only Saturn is at a far enough angle to be just be glimpsed in the morning sky. It will rise at 5:27, about an hour and a half before sunrise in the east-southeast. By 6 am it will have risen and moved to the southeast. Even Jupiter might be spotted lower and left of Saturn, especially if you’re looking across the Lake Huron horizon.

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

Addendum

Mars finder chart

Mars finder chart for tonight March 10, 2021 at 8 pm. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Morning planets

The morning planets at 6 am, Thursday, March 11, 2021. 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 March 10, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 11th. The planet traffic jam in the morning is starting to break up. Saturn and possibly Jupiter can be spotted before sunrise now. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

03/03/2021 – Ephemeris – Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week

March 3, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Wednesday, March 3rd. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 6:33, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:14. The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 12:09 tomorrow morning.

Let’s search for the naked-eye planets for this week. Unfortunately the only one you’ll find is Mars. The other four are hanging out in the direction of the Sun and won’t be seen for a week or so. Mars can be found high in the west-southwest and below left of the Pleiades at 8 pm tonight. Mars will be due south of the Pleiades tonight, which from our cockeyed view of the heavens, from north of the equator, places Mars below and left of the Pleiades. The Red Planet will set at 1:20 am. Of the outer planets Mars is the fastest, being the nearest to the Sun, and to the Earth. So unlike Jupiter, Saturn, and the stars which rise and set about four minutes earlier each night, Mars sets about a minute earlier each night now.

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

Addendum

Mars south of Pleiades animation

Here’s an animation showing why Mars being south of the Pleiades doesn’t look like it in the sky. This is all about directions on the celestial sphere. This will be the position of Mars at 8 pm on March 3rd, 2021, seen in the west-southwest. It is a three frame animation. The first is without coordinate grids as one would see it from about 45 degrees north latitude. The second frame contains the equatorial grid. The lines to the upper right point to the North Pole of the sky near Polaris, so that’s north. The third frame has an alt-azimuth grid. Its lines run vertically and horizontally. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Binocular Moon

The moon as it might appear in binoculars at 6 am tomorrow morning March 4, 2021. 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 March 3, 2021. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 4th. There is a planet traffic jam in the morning and the symbols and labels for Jupiter and Mercury overlap. Unfortunately these planets rise too soon before the Sun to be seen for us up north. It is a great sight for Southern Hemisphere observers. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.