Thursday, February 19, 2015

Heads Up: Venus, Mars, and Crescent Moon

This is why I'd rather live in this universe than any other. Venus and Mars have been spectacular the past few evenings. And now the newborn crescent moon will join them.

This is a bona fide phenomenon. Hope you can check it out where you live. I'm planning to be at Rocky Ford Creek on the evening of the 20th, and there's a good chance it will be clear. If it is, I'll be soaking it all in.

If you miss the young moon after sunset on February 19, try again after sunset February 20. The green line depicts the ecliptic - the pathway of the moon and planets

Earthsky has this to say about this celestial event:

The planets Mars and Venus are about to be at their closest in our sky since 2008. They won’t be closer until 2017! Their nearest point is Saturday, but tonight – February 19, 2015 – you’ll find these two planets in the west after sunset, nearly as close as they will be then. Venus is the much brighter one. What’s more, the young moon is now returning to the west after sunset. And that means we’re about to have some incredible scenes in the western, twilight sky. Friday night’s sky scene will be especially grand.
Although the new moon fell yesterday, February 18, we still expect some observant people in the Northern Hemisphere – especially in North America – to catch the whisker-thin young crescent moon after sunset Thursday evening. Look westward, beneath Venus – the brightest planet and bright evening “star” – and near the horizon, starting an hour or less after sunset. Binoculars may be helpful!
It’ll be harder, though not impossible, to catch an even thinner lunar crescent from northerly latitudes in Europe – and harder yet at northerly latitudes in Asia. We expect few, if any, observers at temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere to spot the young moon after sunset February 19. We tell you why later.
Whatever you do, just start watching the western twilight sky. Set a reminder on your phone if need be. The planets and moon won’t be up for long after sunset. And the views will be spectacular from now through Saturday night!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful night with the moon and the planets together. Drove home for my camera to get a photo of these bodies, but they all disappeared in the minus zero night before I could get them in the view-finder.