Posts Tagged ‘Mercury Greatest Eastern Elongation’

December 2010

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Winter Solstice

Winter begins on December 21st when the Winter Solstice occurs. The Winter Solstice occurs when the tilt of the Earth is pointed directly away from the Sun.  This point marks the beginning of Winter.  The Winter Solstice has the shortest amount of daylight and the longest night.

Lunar Events

The New Moon for December occurs on Sunday, December 5th, which makes the weekend on December 4-5 the best possible weekend for dark sky observing this month.

Winter begins this year with a Full Moon and a Umbral Lunar Eclipse on December 21st.  This full moon is the Full Cold Moon or Moon before Yule using the Astronomical Seasons Rule and is the Full Wolf Moon using the Maine Rule.

The Umbral Lunar Eclipse:

Partial Preumbral Stage begins 9:32:30 pm (PST) (-166 minutes)
Partial Phase begins 10:34:30 pm (PST) (-104 minutes)
Total phase begins 11:42:30 pm (PST) (-36 minutes)
Umbral Lunar Eclipse is at maximum 12/21/2010 12:18:30 am (PST)
Total phase ends 12:54:30 pm (PST) (+36 minutes)
Partial Phase ends 2:02:30 pm (PST) (+104 minutes)
Partial Preumbral Stage ends 3:04:30 pm (PST) (+166 minutes)



This movie shows the December 21st, 2010 Total Lunar Eclipse as view from Los Anges. Each frame is one minute.



This movie shows the December 21st, 2010 Total Lunar Eclipse as view from the Moon. Each frame is one minute.

Mercury

Mercury begins December in the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer) until December 21st when it moves into the constellation Ophicuchus (The Serpent Bearer).

Mercury GEE
Mercury reaches it best viewing position for evening on December 1st,
when it reaches it Greatest Eastern Elongation.  At that time it will be

21°27’28” from the Sun and sets about 1 hour, 26 minutes after sunset.
 

Mercury is observable during the evening hours of December until mid-month when it disappears into the glare of the sunset and re-emerges into the morning hours around December 25th.

On December 13th, Mars is within 1°05’ of Mercury and within 5°30’ of Pluto. Mars, Mercury and Pluto

Venus

Venus is the Morning Star all month and begins December in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) until December 12th, when it moves into the constellation Libra (The Balance).

V2enus and Moon On December 2nd, the waning, crescent moon will pass within 6°50’ of Venus.

Venus and Moon
On December 31st, the waning, crescent moon will pass within 7°20’ of Venus.

Mars

Mars can be observed during the early evening hours of December.  Mars sets around 6:40 pm (PST) at the start of the month and by the end, sets around 6:25 pm (PST).

Mars starts this month located in the constellation Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer) and quickly moves into the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer) on December 2nd.

Mars, Mercury, Pluto and Moon
On December 6th, Mars, Mercury, Pluto and the waxing,crescent moon are grouped within 7°25’ of each other.

On December 13 Mars is within 1°05’ of Mercury and within 5°30’ of Pluto. Mars and Mercury and Pluto

Jupiter

Jupiter is observable from the evening to the very early morning hours of December. At the start of December  Jupiter sets around 1:40 am (PST) and by the end of the month Jupiter sets around 11:55 pm (PST).

Jupiter begins this month in the constellation Aquarius (The Water Bearer) until December 17th, when it moves into the constellation Pisces (The Fish).

Jupiter and Uranus
December 31st - Jupiter is a mere 0°40′ from Uranus.
As the month progresses Jupiter moves closer to Uranus. At the start of this month Jupiter is less than 3° or Uranus and by the end of the month Jupiter is a mere 0°40’ away.  Jupiter is a great starting point to located Uranus.
On December 12th, the First Quarter Moon passes within 11°20’ of Jupiter. Jupiter, Uranus and Moon

Saturn

Saturn is located in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) until December 2012.  Saturn is observable from the very early morning hours of December.  Saturn rises around 3:20 am (PST) at the start of this month and by the end of December rises around 1:30am (PST).

Saturn and Moon
On December 1st, the waning, crescent Moon rises within 8°05’ of Saturn.

Saturn and Moon On December 28th, the last quarter Moon passes within 8°40’ of Saturn.

Uranus

Uranus is observable in close proximity to Jupiter during the evening and very early morning hours of December.  Uranus is located in the constellation Pisces (The Fish) until May 2012.

Jupiter and Uranus
December 31st - Jupiter is a mere 0°40′ from Uranus.
As the month progresses Jupiter moves closer to Uranus. At the start of this month Jupiter is less than 3° or Uranus and by the end of the month Jupiter is a mere 0°40’ away.  Jupiter is a great starting point to located Uranus.
On December 12, the First Quarter Moon passes less than 13° of Uranus. Jupiter, Uranus and Moon

Neptune

Neptune is observable during the evening hours of the month. Neptune sets around 11:25 pm (PST) at the first of the month and by the end of December Neptune set around 9:30 pm (PST).

Neptune and Moon On December 10th, the waxing, crescent Moon sets less than 5°40’ of Neptune.

Pluto

Pluto is observable during the evening hours during the first half of December.  At the start of the Month, Pluto sets around 7:35 pm (PST) and by December 12th, has disappeared into the glare of the Sunset.

August 2010

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Lunar Events

The New Moon for August occurs on Monday, August 9th, which makes the weekend of August 7-8 the best weekend for dark sky observation.

The Full Moon for August happens on August 24th and is known as the Full Corn Moon or Full Fruit Moon.

Mercury

Mercury is visible in the evening for the entire month of August. Mercury begin this month in the constellation Leo (The Lion) and begins to cross the corner of the constellation Sextans (The Sextant) on August 5th. On August 7th, Mercury finishes crossing the corner of Sextans and returns into the constellation Leo. On August 20th Mercury changes direction starting its retrograde motion toward the Sun and by August 31st, returns to the constellation Sextans.

Mercury Greatest Eastern ElongationMercury reaches its optimal viewing position on August 6th, when it reaches it’s Greatest Eastern Elongation.  At that time Mercury will be 27°22’01” from the Sun and will set about 1 hour 50 minutes after sunset.

Mercury & Moon
On August 11th the waxing, crescent Moon will pass within 3° of Mercury.

Venus

Venus is also observable in the evening for the entire month of August.  In the very earliest hours of August Venus crosses from the constellation Leo (The Lion) to the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) where it will remain located for the rest of the month.

V2enus Greatest Eastern Elongation
Venus reaches its optimal observing position on August 19th, as it reaches it’s Greatest Eastern Elongation and is in position for its best evening distance from the Sun.  At this time Venus will be 45°57’32” from the Sun and will set 3 hours after sunset.

Venus is a member of several conjunctions and grouping of other planetary object this month, including:

Venus & Saturn
On August 8th, Venus and Saturn will be less than 2°50’ apart.

Venus, Saturn, Mars & Moon
On August 12th, Venus, Saturn, Mars and the waxing, crescent Moon will be within 10° of each other.

Venus & Mars
On August 20th, Venus and Mars will pass within 2° of each other.

Finally on August 31st, Venus will pass within 1° of the Star Spica. Venus, Mars & Spica

Mars

Mars is observable during the evening Hours of August in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden). Mars sets around 10:20 pm (PDT) at the start of August, and by the end of the month, sets around 9:10 pm (PDT).

Venus, Saturn, Mars & Moon
On August 12th, Venus, Saturn, Mars and the waxing, crescent Moon will be within 10° of each other.

Venus & Mars
On August 20th, Venus and Mars will pass within 2° of each other.

Jupiter

Jupiter is located in the constellation Pisces (The Fish),  moving in retrograde, this month and can be observed from the late evening to morning hours of August. Jupiter rises around 10:25 pm (PDT) at the start of the month, and by the end of August is rising as early as 8:30 pm (PDT).

Jupiter, Uranus and Moon

 

On August 26th, the waning, gibbous Moon passes with 5°50’ of Jupiter.

Jupiter is a great place to start if your are hunting Uranus this month.  They are in proximity to each other for the entire month. Look for Jupiter at the opposite side of the sky from Saturn; as Jupiter rises in the East, Saturn is setting in the West.

Saturn

Located in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) until December 2012, Saturn is observable during the evening hours of August. Saturn sets around 10:20 pm (PDT) at the start of August , and by the end of the month, sets around 8:30 pm (PDT).  Look for Saturn at the opposite side of the sky from Jupiter; as Jupiter rises in the East, Saturn is setting in the West.

Venus, Saturn, Mars & Moon
On August 12th, Venus, Saturn, Mars and the waxing, crescent Moon will be within 10° of each other.

Uranus

Uranus is located in the constellation Pisces (The Fish) until May 2012.

At the beginning of the month, Uranus rises around 10:15 pm (PDT), and by the end of August, it rises around 8:15 pm (PDT).

To find Uranus, you might start by looking for Jupiter and the two planets are in proximity to each other for the entire month. At the end of the month Jupiter and Uranus will be a mere 1°15’ from each other and will end up in conjunction next month on September 21st.

On August 26th, the waning, gibbous Moon passes within 5°15’ of Uranus.

Jupiter, Uranus and Moon

Neptune

Neptune OppositionNeptune is in optimal position for the year for observation as it reaches Opposition on August 20th

Neptune will be observable all month and is at its closes point to Earth for the year.  Moving in retrograde, Neptune begins the month in the constellation Aquarius (The Water Bearer) and on August 13th crosses into the constellation Capricornus (the Sea Goat) where it can be found until January 2011.

Neptune & Moon
On August 24th, the Full Moon will pass within 3°40’ of Neptune which may make it difficult to observe on that night.

Pluto

Pluto is located in the constellation Sagittarius until the year 2023 and is observable until the late evening hours of August.  At the start of the month, Pluto sets around 3:30 pm (PDT) and by the end of the month Pluto sets around 1:30 am (PDT).

Pluto & Moon
On August 18th, the waxing, gibbous Moon passes around 6° from Pluto.

April 2010

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Lunar Events

The new moon for April occurs on Wednesday April 14th.  This will make the weekends on April 10-11 and April 17-18 good weekends for dark sky observing.

The full Moon for this month occurs on April 28th and is known as the Full Flower Moon or the Full Corn Planting Moon.

Mercury

Mercury starts this month by crossing from the constellation Pisces (The fish) into the constellation Aries (The Ram).  Mercury will remain in Aries for the duration of the month.

On April 1st, Venus and Mercury will be a mere 3°10’ from each other. Venus and Mercury
Mercury Greatest Eastern Elongation

 

Mercury reaches its best evening observing on April 8, when it reaches its Greatest Eastern Elongation.  On the 8th, Mercury will be 19°20’60” from the Sun.

Note: The Red line is the orbit of Mercury and the green line is the Ecliptic.

Mercury is observable in the evening hours of April until the 21st, when it disappears into the glare of the Sunset.

Venus

Venus is the Evening Star for the month of April. Venus begins the month in the constellation Aries (The Ram) and on April 19th, Mercury crosses into the constellation Taurus (The Bull).

On April 1st, Venus and Mercury will be a mere 3°10’ from each other. Venus and Mercury

Venus and Pleiades
On April 24th, Venus will pass within 3°40’ of the asterism Pleiades (M45).

Mars

Mars is still in excellent position for the evening and late hours of April and is located in the constellation Cancer (The Crab) for the entire month.  Mars sets around 2:45 am (PST) at the start of april and sets around 1:15am (PST) by the end of the month.

Mars and Beehive Cluster
During April, Mars can be found in the general vicinity of the Beehive Cluster (M44).  On April 16th, Mars will pass within 1°10’ of the Beehive Cluster.

Jupiter

Jupiter is observable in the morning hours of April in the constellation Aquarius (The Water Bearer).  Jupiter rises at the start of April around 4:45 am (PST) and by the end of the month is rising around 3:10 am (PST).

Jupiter and Moon
On April 11th, the waning, crescent moon will pass within 4°50’ of the Jupiter.

Saturn

Saturn is located in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) until December 2012.  Saturn is observable in the evening and very late hours of April. At the start of the month Saturn sets around 5:25 am (PST) and by the end of the month Saturn will set around 3:25 am (PST).

Saturn and Moon On April 25th, Saturn rises within 10° of the waxing, gibbous moon.

Uranus

Uranus emerges from the glare of the sunrise around April 2nd. Uranus is observable in the morning hours before sunrise.  At the beginning of April Uranus rises around 5:10 am (PST) and, by the end of April, Uranus rises around 3:20 am (PST). Uranus is located in the constellation Pisces (The Fish) until May 2012.

Uranus and Moon
On April 12th, the waning, crescent moon passes within 5°15’ of Uranus.

Neptune

Located in the constellation Aquarius (The Water Bearer) until August 2010, Neptune is observable in the early morning hours of April. Neptune rises at the start of the month around 3:50 am (PST) and by the end of the month Neptune rises around 2:00 am (PST).

Neptune and Moon
On April 9th, the waning, crescent moon passes within 3°50’ of Neptune.

Pluto

Pluto is located in the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer) until the year 2023.  Pluto is observable from the very early morning hours of April.  At the start of the month Pluto rises around 12:30 am (PST) and, by the end of the month, Pluto rises around 10:40 pm (PST).

Pluto and Moon
On April 5th, the waning, gibbous moon passes within 5° of Pluto.


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