Skywatching: January 29-February 1 All the naked-eye planets are visible in the morning sky before sunrise. You have probably heard the news reports about being able to see five planets at once. This doesn’t happen very often, but it also is not some kind of weird cosmic alignment. It just means that if you were to… Read More The Time Is Now for Seeing 5 Planets At Once
Skywatching: January 12-17 Venus and Mercury are putting on quite a show in the early evening sky this week. As I write this, Chicago is in the middle of a lake-effect snow band, but the forecast is for clearer skies later this week. About 45 minutes after sunset, around 5:30 pm (or as soon as… Read More Evening “Stars”
Planet Quartet Over the next few days, four out of the five naked-eye planets are visible in the evening sky. Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn are easy to find; Mercury is a bit of a challenge. Venus, the fifth naked-eye planet, is visible in the morning sky. Shortly after sunset, look to the west to find brilliant Jupiter.… Read More Skywatching: May 29-30
This Wednesday night, June 19, may be your last chance to spot the planet MERCURY before it fades into the light of the setting sun. Tuesday night, conditions for observing were great in Chicago, and the forecast for Wednesday is also favorable. I went out on Tuesday to see if I could spot the pair,… Read More Wednesday Challenge: Mercury and Venus
Moon, Mercury, and Venus On Monday, the crescent MOON and the planets VENUS and MERCURY will be very close together in the western sky immediately after sunset (screenshot from Stellarium). Venus is the bright object to the right of the crescent moon, and Mercury is above and to the left of Venus. On Tuesday, the… Read More Skywatching: June 10-11
Yesterday’s Astronomy Photo of the Day featured a composite photograph that illustrates why it is so hard to spot Mercury in the sky after sunset.