What Do Moon And Earth Have In Common? Big Craters!

Last night the moon shone to the left of Saturn. Tomorrow night, it will be in conjunction with Mars, gliding only 4° to its north. Although fading a bit, Mars is still a couple tenths of a magnitude brighter than Sirius, the brightest star, and maintains its eye appeal as we head toward the first…
Read More

Say Goodbye To Venus

Look to the west at dusk this evening and give Venus a goodbye kiss. If you haven’t noticed already, Venus has been practically MIA these recent weeks as it tracks back toward the sun at dusk. For now, the planet stands only about 4° high 30 minutes after sunset from my northern location. To spot…
Read More

A Hot Planet And An Old Moon Chase The Horizon At Dawn

Mercury pops in and out view for only a few weeks at a time before disappearing in the solar glare. Its appearances are brief compared to the other planets because it orbits close to the sun. From mid-northern latitudes the fleet planet is always caught up in the glow of dusk or dawn and never…
Read More

Mars Cleans Up Its Act / September Opens With A Binocular Comet

OK, Mars isn’t completely clear, but the dust is finally settling, making the planet’s dark surface markings much easier to see. I noticed this two nights ago when I hauled out my 10-inch scope for a look. The night was calm and no leaf stirred, often a sign of “steady seeing,” when planets appear sharp…
Read More

Where Did The Moon Come From?

As the moon parades across the southern sky this week, passing above Mars this evening, let’s pause to consider its origin. How did that big, bright orb form in the first place? Venus and Mercury have no moons, Mars two, Jupiter 79, Saturn 62, Uranus 27 and Neptune 14. We’re the only planet with a…
Read More