Astronomical SIGHTS in a SKY NEAR YOU!

CONJUNCTIONS OF PLANETS, THE MOON, LUNAR AND SOLAR ECLIPSES, ETC
Graphics c/o Starry Night Education www.starrynighteducation.com.

This page updated Feb 5, 2019.

See also the HOME page or COMING EVENTS .

The
VIS. COMETS page has more details and finder charts for currently visible comets.



The Planets for Winter 2018/Spring 2019:


Venus continues as the obvious Morning Star into the spring skies of 2019. The aptly-named Mercury circles the Sun quickly and alternates between morning sky and evening every few months. It rounds the Sun and returns to the western sky in February 2019. Jupiter is also in the morning sky and joins Venus and Saturn during most of the spring.

Mars is still reasonably bright and noticeably gibbous in a telescope and traverses the gap between Neptune and Uranus over the December to February time span. It passed Neptune Dec 7 and is right beside Uranus Feb 12.

Saturn passed behind the Sun in early January and now joins the other planers as a morning star. It passes by Venus (1 degree apart) on Feb 18.

Of the gas giants, only Uranus is well up in the south by dark as Neptune is very low on the western horizon at sunset. Neptune is the first to cross over to the morning sky at the start of April.

Dwarf planet, Pluto is in Sagittarius and will not be visible until spring when the Sun leaves the vicinity. Even then, it will be visible only in moonless sky and with larger telescopes. 2019 Finder charts for all planets, dwarf planets and asteroids are found on our CHARTS/FORMS page.



February/March Sky Sights





Feb 12, 2019: Mars Close Approach to Uranus
Mars is high in the southwestern sky all winter long and on Feb 12 when it passes Uranus, Mars is a whopping 57° high. By 7 pm when it is good and dark, Mars and Uranus are still 45° above the SW horizon so there will be no interference from horizon turbulence. On Feb 12, both planets will fit into a 1° circle as shown in the diagram from Starry Night below. Mars moves noticeably in the 4 or 5 hours between dark and when Mars set at 11:30 or so, so watch for its motion with respect to background stars.


Mars Uranus Feb 12 1°sep




Feb 18, 2019: Mercury Reappears with Neptune, Uranus and Mars in Western Evening Skies
Mercury has been travelling unseen behind the Sun for the last few weeks and finally gets far enough away to be visible as an Evening Star above the western horizon. Look for it to climb higher and higher as February progresses. Its pass of Neptune will not be easily seen on Feb 18 as indicated in the diagram here since it occurs low in twilit skies and Neptune is a faint 8th magnitude, but watch as Mercury pulls away from the horizon and climbs towards Mars and Uranus. By Feb 28, Mercury is 10 degrees higher and near the Circlet of Pisces before it slows down (GEE is Feb 27 at 18°E) and starts back towards the Sun again.

Merc Nept Uran Mars Feb 18 7pm



Feb 18, 2019: Venus and Saturn Appulse

First thing in the morning, at 5:30 am Feb 18, Venus (mag -4.1) and Saturn (mag. 1) will be making a close approach to each other and you should be able to follow both planets even in twilight. Venus comes up first at 5:08 am, then Saturn about 6 minutes later. A flat SSE horizon is nice for the risings, but both planets gain elevation until sunup and by an hour before sunrise they are 10° high. Separation is about 1°, a nice FOV at low power. Sunrise is at 7:19 am Feb 18. Diagram below for 5:30 am shows a 2° field of view around the pair, about that of a low power eyepiece.

Pasted Graphic




Feb 27 to March 2, 2019: Moon passes 3 planets in morning sky
The waning crescent Moon continues passing dawn planets in the eastern sky, -about 4 mornings are needed to pass the line up of Jupiter, Saturn and Venus. Each time the crescent is near Saturn, an occultation occurs, -unfortunately none of these are visible from our part of the world. The closest the two get is about 0.5° in daylight on March 1 when they are setting in the west around 1:30 pm EST. Separation between Jupiter and the Moon on Feb 27 is almost 2° and on March 2, Venus and crescent Moon are 4° apart or so. Do get out for a look as it is not often that we see the Moon with 3 of the brightest planets in the sky together at one time.

Moon Jup Sat Venus Feb 28-Mar 2 dawn



March 7, 2019: Crescent Moon near Mercury in Evening Sky
The 29-hour waxing crescent Moon passes Mercury in the western sky on March 7 just after sunset. The separation is 3.5° and the Moon and Mercury are about 10 degrees above the horizon at sunset which occurs about 30 minutes before the scene depicted in the diagram below. Moonset is 8:22 pm DST and Mercury sinks below the horizon about 5 minutes later. Uranus and Mars are on the scene as well with Uranus setting at 11 pm or so and Mars 1.5 hours later.

Moon-Merc-Uran-Mars-March-7-pm



March 29, 2019: Crescent Moon 3° from Saturn
Looks the dawn sky to see the waning crescent Moon passing dawn planets over 4 mornings Mar 28 to Apr 2. The closest approach is to Saturn on March 29 at 3° from the ringed planet. Diagram below shows the sky at 6:42 am DST about 30 minutes before sunrise. There is an interesting grouping coming Apr 2 (down in the left corner of the diagram) with Venus, Mercury and Neptune but it will be a much more difficult view since it will occur closer to the Sun in brighter sky.

Screen Shot 2019-02-05 at 4.00.35 PM
Diagram from Simulation Curriculum



April 2, 2019: Crescent Moon near Venus, Mercury and Neptune
Another fine Moon appearance with Venus, Mercury and Neptune this time, occurs in the SE dawn sky before sunrise on Apr 2. The Moon is 2.7 days before new and shines at magnitude -10 while 4° away lies Venus at magnitude -4. About 8° to the Moon’s left are a close pair of planets, Mercury (magnitude 0.8) and Neptune (magnitude 7.9 and not invisible to the naked eye). The Mercury-Neptune separation of about 30 minutes (a nice FoV for a low power eyepiece) is a minimum tonight and almost as close Apr 3 morning. The Sun rises at 7:03 am DST, 33 minutes after the scene depicted below.

Apr 2 630am cres Venus Merc-Nept 25 min sepn
Starry Night Diagram for Apr 2, 2019 about 6:30 am DST


A summary of the entire 2019 year of ASTRONOMY events can be found here:
ASTRONOMY EVENTS 2019

An astronomical calendar for 2018 (with diagrams of sky sights like those above) will be available soon for download from Alan Dyer's website here: www.amazingsky.com (look at the bottom of the "about Alan" page). Or here: Amazing Sky Calendar 2019

Meteor shower calendar for 2019 from EarthSky.org is available here:
EarthSky Meteor Calendar 2019