28 October 2015

KFOG Broadcast - October 28, 2015

Today's conversation started out 'auf Deutsch' as Renee and I chatted a bit together in German language. But then we turned our attention to the magnificent morning sky and the conjunction of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Click here to listen.

22 October 2015

Planetary Conjunction Shines in the Morning Sky

Planetary Conjunction
With the late onset of sunrise, many people that don't normally see the heavens in the morning are getting a glimpse of a striking alignment of planets that shine high in the eastern sky, rising well ahead of the morning sun. The three planets are Mars, Jupiter and Venus, in order from bottom to top. The top planet, Venus, is by far the most brilliant, a piercing white light that outshines every other object in the entire night sky, with yellow-white Jupiter paler by comparison but nonetheless quite bright itself. Below the two is faint Mars, harder to detect but a beautiful red-orange that completes the trio.

Over the next few days, the trio changes position rapidly, with an extremely close encounter between Jupiter and Venus on Sunday morning October 25th. Check out the changes daily and enjoy this spectacular alignment.

Sky & Telescope has an excellent write-up and diagrams. One of the images is reproduced here.

14 October 2015

Saturn Fades in the West

Crescent Moon graces Saturn
After a long and glorious run in the night sky, Saturn is gradually fading into the west and will fade out of view in the coming weeks. Just before it is gone, the waxing crescent Moon will pass near it this week. For me, the evening sky with a young crescent Moon is always quite beautiful, a gentle curved glow that sometimes includes 'Earthshine' on the unlit part of the Moon visible to Earth.

Find a good southwestern horizon this week and enjoy the Moon as it graces the planet Saturn. Get out your binoculars or telescope for maximum effect!

Image courtesy Sky & Telescope.