One Night on Pluto (Photo credit: lacomj)
Three different colored night-sky objects are visible in the west-southwest at dusk: Saturn, Mars, and Spica.
Mars passes between Spica and Saturn low in the west-southwestern sky at dusk. In order to see them, you must have a nice flat view to that direction. Their various colors will be quite striking since they are so close together: Yellow Saturn, red Mars, and white Spica.
At the beginning of the month, Saturn is north-northwest of Spica, and the pair remain fairly unchanged relative to each other throughout the month.
Mars however, will progress more quickly from the group. At the beginning of the month, it is west of Saturn and Spica, then passes between them, so on the evenings of August 13th and 14th, Saturn, Mars, and Spica will be in a nearly straight line.
Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto are visible this month with a telescope, but you will need a chart to locate them. Neptune is in Aquarius, Uranus is in Cetus, and Pluto is in Sagittarius.
For the second half – which will be discussed here later – the scene will be quite different!
Till then – keep looking up!
English: Pleiades Star Cluster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Jupiter and Venus make a pre-dawn showing during the first part of July. For ambitious star-gazers, Uranus is close to Pisces, and Neptune is in Aquarius. They are high enough to view easily with a telescope, although they are not bright and you have to know where to look. A Google search will reveal finder charts.
At 1 hour before dawn, you can’t miss Venus and Jupiter in the East-Northeast. The bright red star Aldebaran is just above the horizon, Venus (now a morning “star” since its transit across the Sun) is above and slightly to the right of Aldebaran. Jupiter is just above Venus. You can see the contrast in color between brilliant white Venus and ruddy Jupiter. While you’re at it, do you see that cluster of stars above Jupiter, about half-way up the sky? That’s the Pleiades! By July 10th, Venus will be beside Aldebaran, directly to the left.
The evening sky has its share of beautiful sights, too. Mars and Saturn are a third of the way from the horizon to the Southwest as soon as the sky darkens. (If you have a telescope, a shadow will be visible on Saturn from its rings). By the end of July, the distance between both planets will have shrunk considerably.
By the way, Earth is its farthest distance from the Sun (94,506,000 miles) on July 4th at 11 p.m.
What have you seen in the night sky lately? Comment below….