Skywatch Line Archive

Skywatch Line for Friday, January 19 through Sunday, January 21, 2018

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, January 19 through Sunday, January 21, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 7:21am and sets at 4:52pm; the Waxing Crescent Moon rises at 8:50am and sets at 7:30pm. Mercury, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter are arrayed across the southeast roughly 45 minutes before sunrise. Jupiter, at magnitude –0.9, is the brightest and the highest, sitting a little less than 30 degrees above the horizon. Mars, at 1.3-magnitude, is just five degrees to the left of Jupiter. Saturn, at magnitude 0.5, shines only at five degrees altitude. Mercury, at –0.3 magnitude,… Continue reading

Posted in | Comments Off on Skywatch Line for Friday, January 19 through Sunday, January 21, 2018

Skywatch Line for Wednesday, January 17th, and Thursday, January 18th, 2018

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, January 17th, and Thursday, January 18th, written by Louis Suarato. The 20 hour, 14 minute old Moon sets at 5:31 p.m. Wednesday. The waning crescent will be less than 1% illuminated when it sets. Thursday night, the Moon will be 4% illuminated when it sets at 6:28. The brightest star in the sky is Sirius in the constellation Canis Major. Sirius, which means “glowing” in Greek, shines at a magnitude of -1.45. Sirius’ brightness is due to its luminosity and its close proximity to our solar system. At 8.6 light-years away,… Continue reading

Posted in | Comments Off on Skywatch Line for Wednesday, January 17th, and Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, January 15th and 16th, 2018

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, January 15th and 16th. The Sun sets at 4:47 PM; night falls at 6:27. Dawn begins at 5:42 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 7:22. The Moon is absent from both nights. It turns “New” at 9:17 PM on Tuesday and not visible until Thursday. The drought of bright planets continues. The evening sky still presents 8th magnitude Neptune in Aquarius near the star Hydor. Neptune sets at 8:43 PM. Uranus still glows with 5.8 magnitude in Pisces, near the star Mu Piscium. Uranus is best observed at 5:46… Continue reading

Posted in | Comments Off on Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, January 15th and 16th, 2018

Skywatch Line for Friday, January 12 through Sunday, January 14, 2018

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, January 12 through Sunday, January 14, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 7:25am and sets at 4:44pm; the Waning Crescent Moon rises at 3:26am and sets at 1:42pm. Furthest lunar apogee of the year of about 406,459km is reached on Sunday night at 10:11pm. Four of the five naked-eye planets can be viewed at dawn this week. Venus, which is in conjunction with the Sun, is the only missing planet. Mars and Jupiter appear little after 3am. Mars remains just 1½ degrees from Jupiter, which it passed on January… Continue reading

Posted in | Comments Off on Skywatch Line for Friday, January 12 through Sunday, January 14, 2018

Skywatch Line for Wednesday, January 10th, and Thursday, January 11th, 2018

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, January 10th, and Thursday, January 11th, written by Louis Suarato. The 33% illuminated, waning crescent Moon sets at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday. The Moon returns in the constellation Libra as a thinner crescent at 2:26 a.m., 4 degrees north of Jupiter, and 5 degrees north of Mars. This cosmic triangle will be followed by a close conjunction of Mercury and Saturn. Look low over the southeastern horizon around 6:30 a.m. to see the two planets 2 degrees apart. In addition to a clear horizon, you may require binoculars to see Mercury and… Continue reading

Posted in | Comments Off on Skywatch Line for Wednesday, January 10th, and Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, January 8th and 9th, 2018

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, January 8th and 9th. The Sun sets at 4:39 PM; night falls at 6:20. Dawn begins at 5:44 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 7:25. Two dim and distant planets occupy our night sky from sunset until midnight. Neptune, with a dim 8th magnitude, still occupies Aquarius near the star Hydor. It sets at 9:10 PM. Uranus resides in Pisces, near the star Mu Piscium, shines at 5.8 magnitude, is best observed at 6:13 PM and sets at 12:49 AM. Both require detailed charts from astronomical media. Seventh magnitude… Continue reading

Posted in | Comments Off on Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, January 8th and 9th, 2018

Skywatch Line for Friday, January 5 through Sunday, January 7, 2018

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, January 5 through Sunday, January 7, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 7:26am and sets at 4:36pm; the Waning Gibbous Moon rises at 9:10pm. Mars and Jupiter rise together in the southwest a little before 3:30am. Mars, at magnitude 1.5, is badly outclassed by magnitude –1.8 Jupiter. Mars has been creeping steadily closer to Jupiter for months, and on Saturday and Sunday morning Mars catches up to, then passes Jupiter. Just before or during early dawn on Saturday morning, spot Jupiter in the south-southeast. Fainter Mars is barely to… Continue reading

Posted in | Comments Off on Skywatch Line for Friday, January 5 through Sunday, January 7, 2018

Skywatch Line for Wednesday, January 3rd, and Thursday, January 4th, 2018

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, January 3rd, and Thursday, January 4th, written by Louis Suarato. Our planet reaches perihelion, its closest distance to the Sun for year, on Wednesday at 1 a.m. EST. At that time Earth will be 91,401,983 miles from the Sun. Earth orbits the Sun at an average distance of 92,955,807 miles throughout the year. Earth will be at its closest point to the Sun, known as aphelion, on July 6th, at a distance of 94,507,803 miles. As we in the northern latitudes know, perihelion has little to do with seasonal temperatures. Our… Continue reading

Posted in | Comments Off on Skywatch Line for Wednesday, January 3rd, and Thursday, January 4th, 2018

Skywatch Line for Monday, New Year’s Day, and Tuesday, January 1st and 2nd, 2018

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Monday, New Year’s Day, and Tuesday, January 1st and 2nd written by Joe Slomka. The Sun sets at 4:32 PM; night falls at 6:14. Dawn breaks at 5:44 AM and ends with sunrise at 7:26. As we endure a severe cold snap, the New Year begins with the Earth being at its closest to the Sun. On Wednesday, January 3rd, at 1:34 AM, our planet lies 147,097,233 KM (91,401,383 miles) from our star; the average distance is 93,000,000 miles. However, our frigid winters are due to the North Pole being pointed away… Continue reading

Posted in | Comments Off on Skywatch Line for Monday, New Year’s Day, and Tuesday, January 1st and 2nd, 2018

Skywatch Line for Friday, December 29 through Sunday, December 31, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, December 29 through Sunday, December 31, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 7:26am and sets at 4:30pm; Waxing Gibbous Moon rises at 1:55pm and sets at 4:15am on the following day. Mars, Jupiter and Mercury rise before the start of morning twilight. Mars, at 1.5 magnitude, is the first to appear in the east-southeast horizon at around 3:30am. Close behind Mars is Jupiter, gleaming at magnitude –1.8. Last up is Mercury, at magnitude –0.2. Mercury, which is now midway through a favorable morning apparition, rises shortly after 6 am.… Continue reading

Posted in | Comments Off on Skywatch Line for Friday, December 29 through Sunday, December 31, 2017