Skywatch Line Archive

Skywatch Line for Friday, July 21, through Sunday, July 23, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, July 21, through Sunday, July 23, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 5:36am and sets at 8:27pm; Moon rises at 3:43am and sets at 6:50pm. New Moon occurs on Sunday at 5:46am. Mercury is higher in the evening twilight this weekend. Its greatest elongation from the Sun occurs on July 25. Jupiter shines at magnitude –1.9 high up in the west-southwest as darkness falls. At magnitude 0.2, Saturn is still an easy find low down in southern of constellation Ophiuchus. The best time to see Saturn in a telescope … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, July 19th, and Thursday, July 20th, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, July 19th, and Thursday, July 20th, written by Louis Suarato. As our region on Earth turns away from the Sun, and the sky darkens, look for three planets to appear. First look low over the west-northwestern horizon for Mercury before it sets at 9:41 p.m. below the constellation Leo. The European Space Agency (ESA) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have recently announced a joint effort to send a probe to Mercury to look for clues as to why the solar system’s smallest planet is apparently getting smaller. The spacecraft, the … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, July 17th and 18th, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, July 17th and 18th. The Sun sets at 8:30 PM; night falls at 10:36. Dawn breaks at 3:27 AM and ends with sunrise at 5:33. Evening has three moderately bright planets in the western half of the sky. Mercury is bright at zero magnitude, low in the West. Six degrees above the horizon, it is small at 6 arc-seconds in size, and appears about 64 percent illuminated. Binoculars may help find it amid the Sun’s glare. Mercury sets at 9:44 PM. Giant planets Jupiter and Saturn occupy the central evening sky. … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, July 14, through Sunday, July 16, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, July 14, through Sunday, July 16, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 5:30am and sets at 8:33pm; Moon sets at 11:44pm. Last quarter Moon occurs on Sunday at 3:26pm but doesn’t rise until after 1:00am on Monday. Mercury hangs very low in the west in bright twilight at magnitude –0.3. The fast-moving little planet will climb higher in the coming weeks. Jupiter at magnitude –2.0 is well past the meridian at sunset. Saturn doesn’t culminate until around 11:15pm. At magnitude 0.1, Saturn is easy to identify low in the … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, July 12th and Thursday, July 13th, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, July 12th and Thursday, July 13th written by Louis Suarato. The 86% illuminated, waning gibbous Moon rises in the constellation Aquarius at 10:41 p.m. Wednesday. After sunset, look for Saturn above the south-southeastern horizon, and Jupiter above the southwestern horizon. Wednesday night, beginning at 9:48 p.m., Jupiter’s moon Europa will be occulted by the planet. Jupiter will set before you have the opportunity to view Europa emerge from behind the planet. Venus rises in Taurus at 2:45 a.m., 2 degrees from the star Aldebaran. Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus, and … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, July 10th and 11th, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, July 10th and 11th. The Sun sets at 8:34 PM; night falls at 10:45. Dawn begins at 3:16 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 5:27. Jupiter is the brightest object in the early evening sky. It is high in the southwestern sky, and shines at minus 2nd magnitude. It lies about 10 degrees to the right of Virgo’s brightest star, Spica. Jupiter sets after Midnight. Saturn is moderately high in the South, shining at zero magnitude. It is best observed at about 11 PM and sets at 3:42 AM. … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, July 7, through Sunday, July 9, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, July 7, through Sunday, July 9, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 5:25am and sets at 8:36pm; Moon sets at 4:20am and rises at 7:19pm. Full Moon occurs on Sunday at 12:07am. The Moon is astronomically full when it is precisely 180 degrees opposite the Sun in ecliptic longitude. Look for the Moon to appear low in eastern sky around sunset on Saturday. It will climb highest up for the night around midnight and will shine low in western sky at dawn on Sunday. The full Moon lies almost … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, July 5th, and Thursday, July 6th, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, July 5th, and Thursday, July 6th, written by Louis Suarato. The 91% illuminated, waxing gibbous Moon rises at 5:32 p.m. Wednesday. When the sky darkens, you’ll notice the Moon is left of the head of the scorpion, the top of the constellation Scorpius. Scorpius is one of the largest, and brightest, constellations in the summer sky. Scorpius is the home to globular cluster M4, M6, the Butterfly Cluster, M7, Ptolemy’s Cluster, and the globular cluster M80. Saturn follows the Moon through the night sky, rising 1 hour and 20 minutes later. … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, July 3rd and 4th, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, July 3rd and 4th. The Sun sets at 8:37 PM; night falls at 10:51. Dawn breaks at 3:08 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 5:22. Monday is auspicious for several astronomical reasons. Three weeks ago, the Earth experienced the Summer Solstice, when the Sun is highest in the sky and daylight is longest. On the Fourth of July, the Earth is at aphelion: its furthest from the Sun – 94 million miles or 152 million kilometers. The northern hemisphere undergoes hot summers because Earth is tilted, and that tilt … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, June 30, through Sunday, July 2, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, June 30, through Sunday, July 2, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 5:21am and sets at 8:38pm; first quarter Moon occurs at 8:51pm; Moon sets at 12:33am and rises at 12:41pm. Jupiter is near the first quarter Moon on Friday and Saturday. The Moon guides you to Spica on Saturday. Spica, the1st-magnitude star in the constellation Virgo, the Maiden, resides nearby the Moon and Jupiter. Jupiter, the fifth planet outward from the Sun, will remain in front of the constellation Virgo until mid-November. The position of the Moon changes … Continue reading

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