Skylights featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day

Scout Report Selection Webivore Selection SpaceCareers Selection

Skylights featured five times on Earth Science Picture of the Day:
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5

Venus and Jupiter

Photo of the Week.. Venus (the brightest body, toward the bottom) and Jupiter on August 27, 2005, just 5.5 days before their September 2 conjunction (to be shown next week). Spica appears to the left of Jupiter, Vindemiatrix is near the top to the left of center, Porrima is just above Jupiter, and Denebola is up and to the right of center.

Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, October 7, 2005.

The week begins with the Moon well into its waxing crescent phase as it heads toward first quarter, which will take place around the time of its daylight moonrise on Monday the 10th. It thereafter waxes toward full, that phase not reached until the morning of Monday the 17th, when the Moon will just barely clip the Earth's shadow for a minimal partial eclipse visible in central and western North America and in Hawaii.

The night of Friday the 7th, the crescent will make a very close pass to Antares in Scorpius and actually occult it as viewed from the central Pacific (but not in North America). That night the Moon will still be making a nice sight with brilliant Venus, which will lie to the right of the lunar disk. Later in the week, on Wednesday the 12th, the Moon will pass well south of Neptune in Capricornus, and then the night of Thursday the 13th it glides south of Uranus in Aquarius.

Venus, dominating the evening sky, now sets a half hour after twilight ends. Creamy-white Venus is so bright that in a clear sky (with a dark, clean horizon) you can actually see it setting, and like the Sun, getting redder as a result of absorption of its light by the Earth's thick atmosphere. Look up and to the left of the planet to see the trio of stars (Jabbah, Dschubba, and Pi Scorpii) that make the scorpion's head. Dschubba (Delta Sco) is especially notable in that it is still in a brightened outburst state.

Just before Venus sets, Mars rises redly almost due east. Second in the night sky now in brightness only to Venus, the planet is quite glaringly obvious. Mars now transits the meridian to the south around 3 AM Daylight Time, about an hour and a half after Saturn rises (at the same time as Sirius in Canis Major), giving the morning sky two naked-eye planets to evening's one (Mercury and Jupiter quite out of sight in bright evening twilight).

As the Big Dipper of Ursa Major drops in the northwest and prepares to go under the pole (marked nicely by Polaris), Cassiopeia climbs in the northeast to replace it. By morning, the Dipper is rising in the northeast again, standing on its handle, the Bear (of which the Dipper is a part) climbing upward on its three visible feet, three pairs of stars that the ancient Arabians saw as the leaps ("springs") of the gazelle.
Valid HTML 4.0!