The moon’s on a tight schedule. So many places, so little time. It glides past Venus Sunday morning and a day later appears along a new morning planet, Saturn. Then on Tuesday – Weds. the new moon passes squarely in front of the sun for residents of northern Australia and several small islands in the Pacific for a solar eclipse appointment.
Viewing the lunar crescent and Venus will be easy since both are bright and conveniently placed for viewing in morning twilight. For fun, see how long you can keep Venus in view after sunrise using the moon as a guide. If your sky is haze-free, I’m going to bet you’ll see it easily many minutes or even hours later. Let us know how you do.
The Saturn-moon conjunction Monday morning will be trickier, but worth the effort. Not only will you see the return of the ringed planet to the dawn sky but also a super-thin crescent. You’ll need a wide-open horizon to the east-southeast, since the pair will only be about 5 degrees high (about three fingers held together at arm’s length) an hour before sunrise. Bring binoculars as a back-up.
On Nov. 14 about 6:30 a.m. Australian Eastern Standard time (4:30 p.m. CST Nov. 13) the moon will totally eclipse the sun during the early morning hours for lucky sky watchers in northern Australia.
The moon’s shadow first touches ground at sunrise in the wilds of the Northern Territory and tracks east at over a 1000 mph reaching the city of Cairns in Queensland with a population of about 150,000 at 6:39 a.m. local time.
From there, totality races across the Coral Sea and South Pacific before wrapping up at sunset west of the Chilean coast. A much larger region including all of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and southern South America will see varying degrees of partial eclipse.
From the northern hemisphere’s perspective, the moon misses the sun, passing to its south. Sorry, no eclipse. We’ll have to wait until August 21, 2017 for the next total solar eclipse. Click HERE for more details and times to watch Wednesday’s event down under.
Can’t afford a trip to Australia at the moment? Watch it instead via webcam. Here are some cams to check out when the time is nigh: