Astronomical SIGHTS Coming to a SKY NEAR YOU!

Graphics c/o Starry Night Education

This page updated Jan 1 for events in 2018.

See the HOME page or COMING EVENTS for daily listings.

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

Sky Sights: January 2018 - March 2018:

The evening sky is currently devoid of planets with the exception of two of the gas giants,
Uranus and Neptune. Look in Pisces and Aquarius respectively. The planet action has transferred over to the morning sky.

Jupiter and Mars appear in the east well before sunrise and the two will have a close approach of a quarter degree in the first week of January as Mars slides below Jupiter. There is also a nice trio of the two planets and last crescent Moon on Jan 11. After that Mars heads into Scorpius while the more sedate Jupiter hangs around in Libra into February.

Saturn is very close to the Sun in December but by the end of January it is far enough away to be seen in the morning sky. Mercury is also in the vicinity and slips underneath Saturn with separation less than a degree on Jan 13. Then the last crescent Moon joins them two days later for a photogenic grouping in the dawn sky. Mercury quickly transitions to the evening sky in the west in late February and Joins Venus there as an Evening Star in March.

Venus will pass behind the Sun in January/February and by the start of March becomes the prominent Evening Star (in the west) as spring approaches. Mercury and Venus reach minimum separation of about 1° on Mar 3 above the western horizon after sunset. There is a nice lineup of the crescent Moon and these two planets on March 18.

Views of
Pluto will have to wait until the summer.

January - March 2018 Sky Sights

Jan 7, 2018 Sat: Jupiter and Mars close approach
Look in the morning sky for a close pass of Mars to Jupiter on Sat. Jan 7. By the time they rise, they are 17 minutes of arc apart but the minimum separation was just a bit over 12 minutes a few hours earlier when below our horizon. Still it will be interesting to compare in a medium power telescope.

Mars-Jupiter Jan 7

Jan 13 (Sat) & Jan 15 (Mon): Mercury-Saturn close approach joined by crescent Moon Jan 15
Look in the east again for Saturn to appear near Mercury as the two rise above the horizon around 6:45 am Jan 13. By 7:00 am they should be clear of the horizon and less than 1 degree apart. Check if you can spot the gibbous phase of Mercury in your telescope FoV and the rings of Saturn. There is a last crescent Moon above the pair which will gradually move down to form a photogenic trio on Jan 15. Diagram below shows both the close approach Jan 13 (left) and the grouping for Jan 15 about 7:15 am.

Jan 13&15 moon Sat Merc

Jan 31 (Wed) Best Lunar Eclipse of 2018:
A very early morning lunar eclipse will be partially seen in Bruce-Grey but the Moon will set before totality gets underway, unfortunately. For the local area, the umbra darkens the upper left edge of the Full Moon (a super and blue moon it turns out as well) at 6:48 am but less than an hour later the moon sets in the west (7:44 am). It will still be partly lit when it does so. Diagram below shows Moon just before it sets.

Jan 31 Ecl diag

Places in Canada west of Manitoba will see totality start before moonset, but you need to be in Calgary or Kelowna to see the entire event. The best place locally to get as much as we can will be Sauble Beach, the 6th St washroom is an ideal place. See you there 6 am. More info on this lunar eclipse is available from the man himself Mr. Eclipse, Fred Espenak here: Mr.
More info on the
WEBLOG page as well.

Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 4.03.19 PM
Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 4.03.37 PM

Feb 11, 2018 Sun: Crescent Moon and Saturn above Teapot
Sagittarius becomes visible above the SE horizon in February and with it, the crescent Moon and Saturn. Whether dawn light will hide the many Messier objects in this area or not remains to be seen. The globular cluster M22 and cluster in the centre of the Lagoon Nebula should be visible, but the Trifid Nebula will not likely reveal its full details. Worth a try anyway. Not often do you get a chance to view summer Messier objects in the middle of winter. And don’t forget Mars and Jupiter further west along the ecliptic.


March 3, 2018 Sat: Venus-Mercury Appulse
The western sky after sunset is where two Evening Stars meet in a close approach of just over 1 degree. Venus and Mercury are separated by 1° 4 min as they set around 7 pm that evening. Venus has been climbing into the western sky and Mercury moving faster catches up to Venus and passes it tonight. Mercury reaches its farthest point east of the Sun on March 15 and then starts back sunwards again. Venus in the other hand will grace the western sky until the start of fall or so.

Mar 3 Ven-Mer 7 pm

March 18, 2018 Sun: Crescent Moon, Venus, Mercury and Uranus line up
Look in the western sky after sunset for a nice alignment of Crescent Moon, Venus and Mercury (L to R) almost equally spaced at 4° separation. Diagram below shows the view at 7:20 pm about half an hour before moonset and 3/4 hour after sunset. The Moon is about 5 degrees above the western horizon and Venus (mag. -3.9) and Mercury (mag 0.4) are about 4° each to the right of the crescent. Uranus is 12 degrees above the group and magnitude 5.9.

March 18 720pm Cres Ven Merc Uran

A summary of the entire 2018 year of ASTRONOMY events can be found here:
ASTRONOMY 2018 Events
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: (look at the bottom of the "about Alan" page).