Skywatch Line Archive

Skywatch Line for Friday, September 22 through Sunday, September 24, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, September 22 through Sunday, September 24, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 6:43am and sets at 6:53pm; the Waxing Crescent Moon sets at 8:29pm. The new Moon occurred on Thursday at 1:30am. Jupiter, at –1.7 magnitude, is the twilight-only planet this weekend. It sets roughly an hour after the Sun. As twilight begins to fade, Saturn, at 0.5 magnitude, is about 20 degrees high in the southwest. Venus, at–3.9 magnitude, rises before 5 am. Next to appear is Mars, at 1.8-magnitude. The red planet is a relatively faint dot… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, September 20th, and Thursday, September 21st, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, September 20th, and Thursday, September 21st, written by Louis Suarato. The New Moon occurs at 1:31 a.m. Wednesday. The Moon will set as a nearly invisible, .6% illuminated waxing crescent Wednesday evening. You’ll have a better opportunity to welcome the return of the Moon before it sets Thursday as a 3.3% illuminated crescent, in the constellation Virgo. Use binoculars and look about 6 degrees to the left of the crescent Moon for Jupiter as the two set side by side. You’ll have a longer look at Saturn as it appears over… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, September 18th and 19th, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, September 18th and 19th. The Sun sets at 7 PM; night falls at 8:35. Dawn begins at 5:04 AM and ends with sunrise at 6:39. Jupiter and Saturn are evening planets. Jupiter is hanging on, just 6 degrees above the western horizon – too low for useful observations. Shining at minus 1.7 magnitude, its best observed with binoculars before its sets at 8:09 PM. Zero magnitude Saturn, in Ophiuchus, is moderately low in the southern sky. Last week, it reached Quadrature, which means that the Sun lights it from the side.… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, September 15 through Sunday, September 17, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, September 15 through Sunday, September 17, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 6:36am and sets at 7:05pm; the Waning Crescent Moon sets at 4:22pm and rises at 1:22am. On Saturday morning, approximately 70 minutes before sunrise, enjoy the view of Mercury and Mars sitting only 0.3 degree apart. Mercury, at magnitude –0.8, outshines 1.8-magnitude Mars. It’s rare for two planets to pass so near to each other. Look eastward in the direction of sunrise. You can’t miss the waning crescent Moon and Venus in the predawn sky. The Moon… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, September 13th, and Thursday, September 14th, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, September 13th, and Thursday, September 14th, written by Louis Suarato. The Last Quarter Moon occurs at 2:26 a.m. Wednesday. The Moon will reach perigee, its closest distance to Earth during this lunar cycle, at 12:06 p.m., also on Wednesday, at a distance of 229,820 miles. The average distance of the Moon to Earth is 238,855 miles, or about 30 Earth diameters. The furthest distance the Moon travels from Earth is 252,088 miles, or about 32 Earth diameters. At its closest, the Moon is 225,623 miles away, or between 28 and 29… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, September 11th and 12th, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, September 11th and 12th. The Sun sets at 7:12 PM; night falls at 8:49. Dawn begins at 4:55 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 6:32. Two bright planets inhabit the evening sky. Jupiter, in Virgo, is hanging on. It is low in the West about 9 degrees high, and 3 degrees above the bright star Spica. Jupiter sets at 8:37 PM. Binoculars may be needed to find it amid the sunset’s glare. Saturn is moderately high in the southern constellation of Ophiuchus. At zero magnitude, it is about 24… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, September 8 through Sunday, September 10, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, September 8 through Sunday, September 10, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 6:28am and sets at 7:18pm; the Waning Gibbous Moon sets at 8:49am and rises at 8:52pm. Full Moon occurred on Thursday at 3:03am. The Waning Gibbous Moon and Uranus both reside in front of the constellation Pisces, the Fishes, on Friday night. Rising over the eastern horizon by around mid-evening, Uranus will remain within Pisces’ borders for the rest of the year. However, the Moon will leave Pisces after a day or two. With the Moon bright… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, September 6th, and Thursday, September 7th, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, September 6th, and Thursday, September 7th, written by Louis Suarato. The Full Moon occurs at 3:04 a.m. Wednesday. Use binoculars, or a small telescope to find Neptune, one day past opposition, 1 degree to the right of the Moon. If you are up early watching the Full Moon setting Wednesday morning, look to its right at 5:18 a.m. to see the International Space Station emerge from darkness and sail northeastward. The ISS will cross Pegasus before heading toward the Little and Big Dippers. The Moon will set at 6:35 a.m., and… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday, Labor Day, and Tuesday, September 4th and 5th, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday, Labor Day, and Tuesday, September 4th and 5th. The Sun sets at 7:24 PM; night falls at 9:03. Dawn begins at 4:45 AM and ends with sunrise at 6:24. The Moon and two planets are visible in the darkening sky. Monday’s Moon is almost “full” in Aquarius, blazes at minus 12th magnitude and appears about 98 percent illuminated. The Moon is officially “Full” at 3 AM, Wednesday. Jupiter shines at minus 1.7 magnitude in Virgo, about 3 degrees above the bright star Spica and 11 degrees above the western horizon; Tuesday is Jupiter’s… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, September 1 through Sunday, September 3, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, September 1 through Sunday, September 3, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 6:13am and sets at 7:42pm; the Waxing Gibbous Moon sets at 10:00pm. First quarter Moon occurs on Tuesday at 4:13am. Jupiter, at magnitude –1.7, sits very low in the southwest at dusk and sets as twilight ends. That leaves Saturn, at magnitude 0.4, as the sole evening planet. Saturn is already past the meridian at sunset. As darkness falls, the ringed planet is roughly 20 degrees above the south-southwest horizon. The rings are now tilted open almost… Continue reading

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