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#925539 - 12/31/17 11:12 PM 2018 - Keep an eye on the sky
Mona - Astronomy Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Tiger

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 6495
Loc: United Kingdom
The year is off to a good start with a full moon on the first night of 2018. Steve Cariddi has some viewing suggestions for this week.

Quote:
A "supermoon" occurs Monday night. As with all supermoons, the difference between the Moon's size on Monday and the average apparent size of a full Moon is not that dramatic, but it's a great excuse to get out and look at our nearest celestial neighbor. The full Moon on Monday will be among the stars of Gemini, so look for bright Castor and Pollux (the twins) to the Moon's left.

Quote:
The other big news this week is the very close conjunction of Mars and Jupiter in the morning sky. The two rise around 3am local time and are a little more than 3° apart when the week begins, but on the mornings of January 6th and 7th, the two are less than half a degree apart! They are easily visible about 30° up in the southeastern sky about 45 minutes before sunrise. This is one of the nicest planetary conjunctions of the year, so don't miss it! Sky & Telescope created a chart to show you what to expect.

Here is Sky & Telescope's chart of the Mars/Jupiter conjunction.
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#925583 - 01/03/18 04:27 AM Re: 2018 - Keep an eye on the sky [Re: Mona - Astronomy]
Mona - Astronomy Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Tiger

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 6495
Loc: United Kingdom
Jane Houston Jones of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab tells about what's up in the January sky. There's video and a transcript of the video.
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Mona Evans
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#925651 - 01/06/18 05:39 AM Re: 2018 - Keep an eye on the sky [Re: Mona - Astronomy]
Mona - Astronomy Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Tiger

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 6495
Loc: United Kingdom
EarthSky's Deborah Byrd reminds us that there's a beautiful planetary conjunction coming up tomorrow (Sunday). Mars and Jupiter have been getting closer to each other this week in the pre-dawn sky, and tomorrow they'll be about half a moon-diameter apart.

To see Jupiter and Mars together before dawn, you need to be looking southeast. Jupiter will be very bright. Once you've seen it, look nearby for reddish - but much fainter - Mars. Also watch out for Antares, a bright reddish star, lower in the sky. And the star Zubenelgenubi.

Here is a view of Jupiter and Mars taken by Chirag Upreti. Although Antares and Zubenelgenubi aren't included, you can see the 4 largest moons of Jupiter. (They can't be seen with the unaided eye.) The photographer says
Quote:
Jupiter (and its moons) and Mars seen close together from Bronx, NYC. The cold temperatures here cause instant white plumes of exhaust to form from heating vents, the light pollution from the city illuminates this with the orange tinge.
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#925695 - 01/09/18 05:22 AM Re: 2018 - Keep an eye on the sky [Re: Mona - Astronomy]
Mona - Astronomy Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Tiger

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 6495
Loc: United Kingdom
I've had a long spell of overcast skies, so I was surprised a few nights ago to see something bright - could it be an actual star? - through the kitchen window. Even with the kitchen lights reflected in the window, this was bright and twinkly. Decided it must be Sirius. From another room, which has a window I can open and lean out, I had a good look.

Besides being the brightest star in the sky, Sirius is twinkly and tends to change color. This is because it's low in the sky and therefore its light comes farther through more of the atmosphere, and the atmosphere affects the steadiness. If you think you're seeing Sirius, you can check it out by looking for Orion.

For most people, only the Big Dipper is easier to find than Orion. There's a bright reddish star - that's Betelgeuse, one of Orion's shoulders. And one foot is a bright blueish star - that's Rigel. Orion's belt is three evenly-spaced stars which point towards Sirius.

If you find Orion and Sirius, you can spot the Winter Triangle. Since you already have 2/3 of it, it should be obvious where Procyon has to be to complete the triangle.

You may think, from the picture, that it'll be hard to find these stars, because there's so much else there. I rarely find myself anywhere with really dark clear skies. Most of the time it's easy to pick out constellations and asterisms, because they're made up of fairly bright stars, and without binoculars or a telescope, you can't see the many dim ones.
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Mona Evans
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#925809 - 01/14/18 09:38 PM Re: 2018 - Keep an eye on the sky [Re: Mona - Astronomy]
Mona - Astronomy Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Tiger

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 6495
Loc: United Kingdom
Steve Cariddi has some pointers for some easy skywatching that needs only your eyes! But if you have binoculars, you might be surprised at the extra detail you can see.
Quote:
A new lunar month begins on Tuesday. By Thursday, you should be able to see an increasingly thicker crescent in the southwestern sky each night at sunset. While the Moon holds your attention in the early evening sky, you'll have to turn to the predawn southeastern sky to see some planets. About half an hour before sunrise, look for Mars and Jupiter (brighter) about halfway up in the south-southeastern sky, while Mercury (brighter) and Saturn are very low in the southeast.
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Mona Evans
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