Watch out for the magnificent conjunction Venus-Jupiter, March 2012

This is the best rendezvous of Venus and Jupiter in years.  You’ll need clear westerly views. Due to their magnitude the two brightest Planets are already visible when the light of the Sun still lingers. They have been moving toward each others for a while now. The conjunction will be exact on March 15, but the two will remain visually close for the whole month of March. It would be worth your while to look them up every evening for the next week or so. It should be easy to recognize Venus because she is the brightest amongst the two (approx. magnitude -4.18 versus magnitude -1.96).

Astrologically this is considered a fortunate conjunction, Venus and Jupiter being known as the two most fortunate planets, one fostering cooperation, love and artistic creativity (Venus), the other optimism, expansion and improvement at all levels (Jupiter). This is a positive aspect for relationships, travel, business, artistic expression,  fun, financial gain and all sorts of opportunities. In direct line with this transit are Pisces born between the 12 and 16 of March, Taurus born between April 28 and May 2, and all those born with the Sun, Moon, any Planet, Lunar Node, or Angle between the 8th and 12th degrees of Taurus, Pisces, Virgo, Capricorn and Cancer. Scorpio, Leo and Aquarius are also aligned to this transit , but, being connected with it via opposition and squares respectively, they could experience some difficulties in enjoying its full benefits.

I have to apologize for an error in an earlier version of this post (now corrected), if you happen to have read it before this editing, where I stated that Jupiter was Retrograded at this time. He is not, while Mars and Mercury are. A Retro Mercury’s trick?

For more on this transit and others active in March 2012 please check my recent Venus in Taurus post, HERE.

Below is a sky-scape of this event, taken on March 15, around 7.40 pm, looking North-West, low on the horizon (in mid-latitude in the Southern Hemisphere). Note Aldebaran, alpha star of Taurus, and the Pleiades, Seven Sisters, above, and beautiful Capella, alpha star of Auriga, the Charioteer, parallel and north of the conjunction, and finally Hamal, alpha of Aries, the Ram, below the conjunction. Looking up you will also see the great sky Hunter, Orion, and west of it the two main stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux.

March is in fact a great month for naked eye observation of the planets, with Mars at his brightest after his opposition to the Sun, on March 5, and Saturn visible east of Mars, still close to Spica, the brightest star of Virgo.

click to view larger image ~ created with Stellarium, free and wonderful software

Advertisements

December 2011, Stars over Wollumbin, our Southern skies

*******

December: get out your night goggles to watch some magnificent sky-walkers:

Jupiter, in the East, and Venus, in the West, are King and Queen of the night.

Mercury is hiding again, between Earth and Sun, for most of this month

Mars is becoming brighter and is more elevated above the horizon

Saturn rises low in the South-East before sunrise, elusive but visible

Other events

~ Meteors Showers, Geminid and Ursid ~ a Total Lunar Eclipse on December 10/11 ~

*MERCURY, in retro motion in Tropical Sagittarius since November 23,  is changing from Evening to Morning Star, moving from the Western sky after sunset to the Eastern sky before dawn, after forming an Inferior Conjunction with the Sun on December 4.

Mercury will remain invisible until the end of December, re-emerging  in the South-East after December 20. On December 22/23 it could be easier to spot him (-0.4 magnitude) because of his vicinity to the tiny Balsamic Moon (two days before New Moon)  and also his alignment to the star Antares (alpha of Scorpio constellation).


VENUS: Venus is becoming brighter every day, also more available for observation because she will remain longer in the western sky after sunset.  Her magnitude will be around -3.9 throughout the month.

Venus and the tiny Crescent Moon (two days past New Moon) will appear very close in the evening of December 27.

Venus will reach her maximum brightness at the end of April 2012 (-4.5 magnitude), her maximum elongation or longitudinal distance from the Sun expected at the end of March.

Click HERE to view a cool graphic of the pentagram or five pointed stars formed during the eight years Venus/Sun’s basic cycle.

****

*MARS: it will be easier to spot Mars this month, rising in the East a bit earlier every day. The Red Planet is also becoming brighter, from +0.7 to +0.2 magnitude. mars will be already well above the Eastern horizon by month’s end. He will remain relatively close to the two major stars of Leo constellation, Denebola and Regulus. 

On December 18 the last Quarter Moon will transit in the vicinity of Mars, in the East, from one am until sunrise. providing a bright clue to spot Mars.



JUPITER: as it gets dark in the evening Jupiter can be observed already high above the Eastern horizon this month. He is very bright, at around -2.7 magnitude.

The Giant Planet is rapidly moving North-West, setting earlier as December advances, between two and three am at the start of December and  just after midnight by the end of the month.

Jupiter is transiting against the backdrop of Cetus (the Whale constellation). He will be caught up in the Sun’s glare in mid-May 2012.

On December 6 and 7 the Waxing Gibbous Moon will be visually close to Jupiter for good part of the night.

In December Saturn makes his return to visibility, appearing higher above the Eastern horizon before sunrise, rising in our mid-southern latitudes about 3 am.

In early April 2012 Saturn will reach his maximum elongation (distance) from the Sun and so also its greatest brilliance (+0.2 magnitude). In the month of December Saturn will shine at +0.8 magnitude only.

Saturn will still be transiting near the the alpha star of Virgo, Spica, the ear of corn in the maiden’s hand. On December 21 the Waning Moon will be aligned to both Saturn and Spica,  in the East before sunrise.

****
Other major astronomical events in December

A Total Lunar Eclipse in the Tropical Sign of  Gemini is on the cards for the Full Moon of December 10/11 (depending where you are in the world).

This Eclipse will be visible in its totality in most regions of Russia, the whole of Asia, including South East Asia, in China, Japan, the two Koreas, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia. It will not be visible from South America or Antarctica, and only partially from Europe, Africa, Mexico, North America and parts of Canada. 

The Nasa site discussing this Total Moon Eclipse can be found HERE.

Meteors Showers are expected this month too, the Geminid and the Ursid. The Southern Hemisphere will be ideal to watch the first one, while the second will be visible only for people North of the Equator.

The Geminid will reach its peak on December 13,14 and 15, but some of its meteors could be glimpsed between December 6 and 19. Unfortunately the big Waning Moon (Disseminating Phase, after the Full Moon on December 10) may conceal many of its shooting stars (up to 80/120 per hour! One of the best meteors showers of the year). The spectacle will be worth the effort of rising early though, especially if you live away from city lights.

The constellation of Gemini, from which this shower radiates, rises before midnight in mid-latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, so there would be many hours of opportunity for observation. The shooting stars will appear to generate in the vicinity of Castor (with Pollux, one of the Twin stars of the constellation Gemini), situated just below the Moon for southern observers. These meteors actually originate from the Asteroid Phaeton, an unusual occurrence because most showers come instead from comets.

The Ursid meteors shower (visible only to Northern observers), will have the advantage of a darker sky, its peak occurring two days before New Moon, on December 22 and 23. The shower itself goes on from December 17 to 25. The Small Bear or Little Dipper constellation, the place from where this shower radiates, is a circumpolar constellation, meaning that it does not rise above the horizon sufficiently in southern latitudes.  This shower has less meteors than the previous one, 20-15 per hour, occasionally more. It originates from a comet called 8P/Tuttle.

For a historical take on Sun Spots and Flares please navigate to some interesting article on space.com HERE.

*******

All the Sky Snapshots have been generated using Stellarium, a wonderful Planetarium freeware software.

Information for the Sky Events has been gathered from these web sites:

http://www.suite101.com/profile.cfm/kellykw

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mjpowell/Astro/Naked-Eye-Planets/Naked-Eye-Planets.htm#PlanetList

http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/visible-planets-tonight-mars-jupiter-venus-saturn-mercury

http://www.astronomy.com/en/News-Observing/Sky%20this%20Month.aspx

http://www.curtrenz.com/astronomical.html

*******

June, the month to observe six members of our Solar Family

*******

~ Jupiter at dawn in the eastern sky ~ Mercury, just emerged from darkness, low on the eastern horizon, below bright Jupiter ~ Venus in the western evening sky, for a couple of hours after sunset ~ Mars and Saturn in the North-West at dusk and through the night ~ With a pair of good binoculars we could even spot far away Uranus close to Jupiter in the eastern sky before sunrise ~

*******

MERCURY has re-appeared as a Morning Star, very faintly at first, at the end of May. It will remain visible until mid-June, but very low in the eastern horizon in the pre-dawn sky, below much brighter and more elevated Jupiter, reaching its Superior Conjunction with the Sun on June 28.

*******

VENUS will trace her bright course between the Twin Stars Castor and Pollux (alpha and beta of Gemini constellation) until mid-June, setting with the Beehive Cluster in constellation Cancer by June 19 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

Our Sister Planet will remain the beautiful Evening Star until October 2010. In June it will remain around magnitude -3.9 (its maximum being -4), and also spend more time in the night sky, setting at 8 pm, three hours after the winter Sun (in Southern Latitudes), by the end of June.

The Evening Star’s incarnation of Venus represents a collective opportunity to become more self-reflective, acknowledging our contribution to any relationship issues we may be experiencing. The Goddess of Love is looking deeper into our hearts and show us the way to a less self-centred and more aware kind of loving, (see also Venus in Cancer  post).

*******

MARS‘ light keeps diminishing this month. You can spot Mars in the evening in the North-West, relatively low above the horizon,  reddish in colour, rising in daylight and setting  just before midnight in mid-June. It will be easily spotted on June 6/7 when it will conjunct Regulus, alpha Star of Leo, and, again, on June 16/17 when it will be close to the Waxing Crescent Moon (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

*******

JUPITER, after emerging from the glare of the Sun in March, is now a very bright star, rising at midnight and very conspicuous in the east until sunrise, with the backdrop of the Pisces constellation. By the end of June Jupiter will rise at midnight. Jupiter will become brighter and brighter as the year advances, reaching its greatest brilliance in its whole 11.8 years cycle just in time for the Libra Equinox 2010 (September 21). This is due to the fact the giant planet will reach its perihelion, closest position in relation to the Sun, in March 2011.

*******

There is a companion to Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky, though invisible, so you will need a good pair of binoculars to spot it, 0.4 degrees above Jupiter. It is giant Uranus, spinning at right angle to everyone else, a bluish/green star-like object. Jupiter is -2.4 magnitude and Uranus at 5.8, dim but still the brightest object in the vicinity of Jupiter.

Jupiter and Uranus are conjunct for the first time in nearly 14 years on June 9, and they are nearly as bright as they can be, their opposition from the Sun getting closer. It will be exact on September 22, just as the Sun prepares to enter Tropical Libra (Spring-Autumn Equinox), opposing them only five hours apart from each other. Jupiter and Uranus meet cyclically (synodic cycle) every 13.7 years. This time they are playing a prolonged duet, though, meeting twice in 2010 (June 9 and September 22) and a third time on January 2, 2011. This is a rarer opportunity for the energies of these planets to blend for a sustained period, so exerting a greater overall influence over the affairs of the whole year. The last time Jupiter and Uranus met three times was in 1983, 27 years ago.

Animation of the triple conjunction of Jupiter-Uranus in 2010/11, from Martin J.Powell astronomical site, can be found HERE.

*******

By the end of June Saturn will rise around midday and set around midnight. Saturn emanates a yellowish light, easily spotted between Regulus of constellation Leo and Spica of constellation Virgo, not far from Mars.Like Mars, Saturn also is becoming dimmer this month, around  +1 magnitude, moving away from the Earth at an angle that will cause its rings to become thinner, reflecting less sunlight.

The Moon will be conjunct Saturn on June 18 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

*******

Full Moon in Capricorn, Lunar Eclipse, June26

A Partial Eclipse of the Full Moon is due on June 26. It will happen in the Tropical Sign of  Capricorn, with the Sun in the opposite Sign of Cancer. I re-post here the article I wrote concerning this Eclipse in the 2010 Forecast post (June to September):

Click to enlarge

The Eclipses, once again, accompany the change of season, a significant fact that will make their influence more marked and also longer lasting.

The Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is Partial, visible after sunset from Australasia, and before sunrise in western South and North America.

The Moon, central to the whole interpretation, is transiting in close proximity to Pluto in Capricorn, separated from the position of this planet, as projected on the ecliptic, by a mere 0 degrees and 41 minutes of longitude. The Sun then is of course exactly 180 degrees away from the Moon and also Pluto. Even by itself this configuration would heighten the intensity of the ecliptic Moon, but there is much more. Mercury is in Cancer with the Sun on the day, while Jupiter and Uranus, still conjunct in Aries, are 90 degrees away from both Sun and Moon; while Saturn in Virgo, opposite to them, is also in a wide 90 degrees angle to Sun and Moon. This configuration is known as a Grand Cross, usually connecting four celestial bodies, but, in this case, linking instead seven: Sun, Moon, Pluto, Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn.

Grand Crosses are tough, tight knots, forcing planets to work together, especially problematic if difficult planets are involved, as here are Saturn, Uranus and Pluto, heavy weights of the Zodiac. This Eclipse seems to draw attention and energize the knotty transits coming into activity during this season, the squares and opposition of Saturn to Pluto and Jupiter-Uranus respectively; more about these specific transits later. Some intensely emotional events can be the result of such a configuration corresponding with the time of an eclipse, because the combined forces of Jupiter and Uranus in Aries will create a fierce opposition to the might of Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn, also challenging each other: a time of quickening, a protracted labour inducing the birth of the New (a forceps birth rather than a gentle water birth). Unavoidably astrologers would notice the similarity between this event and the last lunar eclipse of 2009 (or first eclipse of 2010, depending where you were at the time), the one that preceded the Haiti and Chile’s disasters. The Sun and Moon were then placed in the Sign each other occupies in the June eclipse, on opposite hemispheres. The Sun was separating from a conjunction to Pluto and both Sun and Moon were widely square Saturn in Libra. But there is a great difference too.

All Eclipses are grouped under one specific number, known as their Saros number. A Saros group begins with a particular eclipse; other eclipses follow, at an interval of 18 years approximately, all falling around the same degree of longitude.

So, for instance, the Lunar Eclipse of June 26 2010 belongs to the Saros number 120. This group of Lunar Eclipses began with one that took place on October 5, 982 AD, close to the beginning of the last Millennium. The Eclipse that began a series is said to give its colour, tone and vibration to the lot of them. Therefore it is very important to study the first Eclipse of a Saros series to get a feel of what we are dealing with. This first eclipse of the series shows a highly charged Horoscope, but also one with many redeeming factors. The Saros number of the December eclipse instead began with an extremely difficult eclipse in 1000 AD, showing more clearly the potential destructive nature of all the following eclipses of the same number.

For an in-depth reading of the major transits of Saturn and others, for the present and near future, please visit 2010 Forecast page.

*******

*******

JUNE CALENDAR OF OBSERVABLE EVENTS

******

Information and pictures to make you better acquainted with your southern night sky

The different lighting of some of the pictures is due to the time the snapshots of the Planetarium were taken.

THANKS TO STELLARIUM

*******

JUNE 6: the Waning Moon, just past the Last Quarter Phase, will join Jupiter and invisible Uranus in the pre-dawn sky. The snapshot of this event was taken looking East, just before 6 am.

JUNE 6 and 7: Mars is today and tomorrow very close to the Star Regulus, the little King in the constellation Leo. This is a great colour contrast, with red Mars and white-blue Regulus.

The snapshot of this event was taken looking toward the North, at around 7 pm. In ancient times this conjunction would spell the violent or sudden  death of a king or ruler.

Click to enlarge

JUNE 7: Venus is setting very close to Castor, one of the Gemini Twin Stars. While Mars is s still very close to Regulus, the Little King Star (alpha of Leo constellation). A great time to observe Gemini and Leo Stars.

Below is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the West around 6 pm.

JUNE 15: Venus has now moved higher than Castor and Pollux, the Twin Stars, but the tiny Crescent Moon is joyning her in a beautiful display. Here is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the North-West, just before 6 pm.


JUNE 17: the Moon will become conjunct Mars and Regulus tonight. This snapshot was taken looking toward the North-West, just before 7 pm.


JUNE 18-19: the Moon will be close to the conjunction with Saturn over these two days, against the backdrop of the Virgo constellation. This snapshot was taken on June 19 around 10 pm.


JUNE 20: Venus can be seen setting in the Beehive Nebula of constellation Cancer. Here is a snapshot of this event, taken looking toward the West, around 6 pm.


JUNE 20: the Moon is just 04 degrees far from Spica, the Ear of Corn Star in the hand of the Virgin constellation.

Here is a snapshot of the event, taken looking toward the West, around 7 pm.


JUNE 24: the Moon can be oberved very close to the alpha Star of Scorpio, Antares. The snapshot was taken, looking toward the North-West, just before 8 pm.


*******

*******

All the Sky Snapshots have been generated using Stellarium, a wonderful Planetarium freeware software.

Information for the Sky Events has been gathered from these web sites:

http://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/night-sky-observing-guide-for-june-2010

http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm#update

http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/

*******

JUNE 15: Venus has

SEPTEMBER 2010, STARS OVER WOLLUMBIN, OUR SOUTHERN SKY

*******

September’s five visible Planets

~ Dazzling Jupiter, rising in the East at sunset and setting in the West at sunrise, at his closest to the Earth in 47 years

 (with a pair of good binoculars we could even spot far away Uranus, close to Jupiter throughout the night) ~

~ Mercury, now Morning Star, makes his best appearance in the East by the second week of September ~

~ Venus shows off her brightest self between September 17 and October 4 in the West, after sunset, nearer to the horizon now ~

~ Mars is visible after sunset in the South West, slightly dimming as the month advances ~

~ Saturn is disappearing with the Sun at dusk, passing behind the Sun at the end of September. It can still be glimpsed during the first week of September low on the western horizon after sunset

MERCURY reached its Inferior Conjunction with the Sun on September 3, re-emerging as a Morning Star from September 9 until the end of the month. This will be the best dawn apparition of Mercury this year (magnitude -0.3). By mid-September Mercury will be about 15 degrees above the horizon before sunrise, reaching its greatest elongation around September 19.

To spot elusive Mercury look for the constellation Leo, it will appear very very close to the star Rho, ρ of Leo Constellation, on the foot of the lion, on September 16 and 17, as shown in the sky scape below taken around 5.15 on September 16.

Our Sister Planet will reach magnitude -4.8 by October 1, so bright in fact to be visible even before sunset. Her most dazzling apparition will occur between September 17 and October 4, becoming Stationary Retrograde on October 8. By October 19 Venus will disappear completely in the glow of the setting Sun, reaching her Inferior Conjunction with the Sun at the end of October. Venus will re-appear as the Morning Star in November.

The Evening Star’s incarnation of Venus represents a collective opportunity to become more self-reflective, acknowledging our contribution to any relationship issues we may be experiencing. The Goddess of Love is looking deeper into our hearts and show us the way to a less self-centered and more aware kind of loving.

MARS is still visible in the evening sky, looking toward the South West, slowly losing brightness as the month progresses (magnitude +1.5) and also inching closer to the horizon. It will remain in proximity to Venus throughout September.

 

JUPITER is at his most brilliant in September, reaching the maximum magnitude of -2.94. This is because he will be in opposition to the Sun (with Uranus) on September 21. From now to March 2011  Jupiter is making his closest passage to planet Earth in 47 years (since 1963). This phenomenon will not occur again for another 12 years (until 2022).

Jupiter will rise at sunset and set at sunrise. On September 18 our giant planet will be very close to Uranus, 0.8° away from each other. You could be able to spot Uranus with the help of a good pair of binoculars. Giant Uranus, spinning at right angle to everyone else, is a bluish/green star-like object,the brightest object in the vicinity of Jupiter.

Jupiter and Uranus became conjunct for the first time in nearly 14 years on June 9. Jupiter and Uranus meet cyclically (synodic cycle) every 13.7 years. This time they are playing a prolonged duet, though, meeting twice in 2010 (June 9 and September 22) and a third time on January 2, 2011. This is a rarer opportunity for the energies of these planets to blend for a sustained period, so exerting a greater overall influence over the affairs of the whole year. The last time Jupiter and Uranus met three times was in 1983, 27 years ago.

Animation of the triple conjunction of Jupiter-Uranus in 2010/11, from Martin J.Powell astronomical site, can be found HERE.

Observing the eastern sky after sunset we will be able to admire the beautiful Constellation of Pegasus, the flying horse, appearing as a great square just left (North) of the planet, as shown in this sky scape taken on September 15, around 9.30 pm.

Saturn is disappearing in the twilight glow after sunset in September. The ringed planet will move behind the Sun on September 30, becoming visible again a month after that as a Morning Star! Saturn can be glimpsed, close to the western horizon, during the first week of September.

All the Sky Snapshots have been generated using Stellarium, a wonderful Planetarium freeware software.

Information for the Sky Events has been gathered from these web sites:

http://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/night-sky-observing-guide-for-june-2010

http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm#update

http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mjpowell/Astro/Naked-Eye-Planets/Naked-Eye-Planets.htm#PlanetList

July 2010, STARS OVER WOLLUMBIN, OUR SOUTHERN SKIES

*******

July, the month to observe five members of our Solar Family

*******

~ Jupiter at dawn in the eastern sky ~

~ Mercury re-emerges as Evening Star in mid-July,

moving toward maximum elongation (and visibility) in early August ~

~ Venus in the western evening sky, for a couple of hours after sunset ~

~ Mars and Saturn in the North-West at dusk and until the early part of the night ~

~ With a pair of good binoculars we could even spot far away

Uranus, close to Jupiter in the eastern sky before sunrise ~

*******

MERCURY reached its Superior Conjunction with the Sun on June 28,and will re-emerge as an Evening Star in mid July, about thirty minutes after sunset. Southern observers are favoured this month, but to find Mercury  you will also need an unobstructed horizon, and perhaps a pair of good binoculars. Due to his low altitude and constant closeness to the horizon Mercury appears yellow reddish in colour, as the Sun when on the horizon. Mercury also tends to blink more than other planets, so that he can be easily taken for a star. Between July 12 and 14 the waxing Crescent Moon and Venus will appear close to Mercury in the evening sky, toward North-West, an opportunity to spot this elusive planet in the twilight of the day. On July 26 and 27 Mercury will be seen very close to Regulus, the alpha star of Leo constellation (find snapshots in the July Calendar of Observable Events, below).

Mercury will reach its maximum elongation (time of greatest visibility) on August 7, 2010.

 *******

Our Sister Planet will remain the beautiful Evening Star until October 2010. In July VENUS will set after 8 pm, three hours after the winter Sun (in Southern Latitudes).

With a magnitude of -4.1, Venus is still the brightest planet, easily observed looking toward the west in the evening.  Finding Venus can also help us to spot other members of our solar family, as well as constellations and stars.

As evening deepens and Venus appears, the stars Castor and Pollux of Constellation Gemini will be setting low on the horizon. In line, up from brilliant Venus, is the alpha star of Leo, Regulus (that Venus will conjunct on 10/11 July), then reddish Mars, followed by golden Saturn and finally by Spica, the brightest star of Virgo Constellation. After the 11 July New Moon the waxing Moon will join the spectacle for about a week, becoming conjunct Venus on the 15, Mars and Saturn between the 16 and 17, and Spica on the 18 (find snapshots in the July Calendar of Observable Events, below)

The Evening Star’s incarnation of Venus represents a collective opportunity to become more self-reflective, acknowledging our contribution to any relationship issues we may be experiencing. The Goddess of Love is looking deeper into our hearts and show us the way to a less self-centred and more aware kind of loving.

*******

MARS‘ light still diminishes this month, from magnitude +1.4 to + 1.5.

You can spot Mars in the evening in the North-West, relatively low above the horizon,  reddish in colour, rising in daylight and setting  around 9, 9.30 pm, depending on your view. It will be easily spotted on July 16 when it will be close to the waxing Moon (find snapshots in the July Calendar of Observable Events, below).

*******

JUPITER, after emerging from the glare of the Sun in March, is now a very bright star in the East (magnitude – 2.6), rising just before midnight at the start of July and around 10 pm at the end of the month.

Jupiter will become brighter and brighter as the year advances, reaching its greatest brilliance in its whole 11.8 years cycle just in time for the Libra Equinox 2010 (September 21). This is due to the fact the giant planet will reach its perihelion, closest position in relation to the Sun, in March 2011.

*******

There is a companion to Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky, though invisible, so you will need a good pair of binoculars to spot it, 0.4 degrees above Jupiter. It is giant Uranus, spinning at right angle to everyone else, a bluish/green star-like object. Jupiter is -2.6 magnitude and Uranus at +5.8, dim but still the brightest object in the vicinity of Jupiter.

Jupiter and Uranus are conjunct for the first time in nearly 14 years on June 9, and they are nearly as bright as they can be, their opposition from the Sun getting closer. It will be exact on September 22, just as the Sun prepares to enter Tropical Libra (Spring-Autumn Equinox), opposing them only five hours apart from each other. Jupiter and Uranus meet cyclically (synodic cycle) every 13.7 years. This time they are playing a prolonged duet, though, meeting twice in 2010 (June 9 and September 22) and a third time on January 2, 2011. This is a rarer opportunity for the energies of these planets to blend for a sustained period, so exerting a greater overall influence over the affairs of the whole year. The last time Jupiter and Uranus met three times was in 1983, 27 years ago.

Animation of the triple conjunction of Jupiter-Uranus in 2010/11, from Martin J.Powell astronomical site, can be found HERE.

*******

Rising in the East around 11 am Saturn will set around 11 pm at the beginning of July, while, at the end of the month, it will rise around 9 am and set around 9 pm.

The ringed planet is now transiting between the Constellations of Leo and Virgo. It will shine at + 1.1 magnitude during the month. Like Mars, Saturn also is becoming dimmer this month, around  +1 magnitude, moving away from the Earth at an angle that will cause its rings to become thinner, reflecting less sunlight.

Mars will be conjunct Saturn on July 31 and in early August Venus will also join them in the evening sky (find snapshots in the July Calendar of Observable Events, below).

*******

For an in-depth reading of the major transits of Saturn and others, for the present and near future, please visit 2010 Forecast page.

JULY CALENDAR OF OBSERVABLE EVENTS

******

Information and pictures to make you better acquainted with your southern night sky

The different lighting of some of the pictures is due to the time the snapshots of the Planetarium were taken.

THANKS TO STELLARIUM

JULY 4-5: the Moon can be observed very close to Jupiter (and invisible Uranus) between the Constellations of  Cetus (the Whale), Pegasus (the Winged Horse) and the Southern Fish of Pisces. The snapshot was taken on July 4, looking toward the East, around 1.30 am. The couple will remain visible well into daylight.

On JULY 5 the Moon will still be fairly close to Jupiter and her distance from him will tell you something about her daily motion and West-East direction.

Click to enlarge

JULY 8: The Waning Balsamic Moon (around 45 degrees behind the Sun) can be observed close to the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters.

The Moon’s brightness may absorb the light of the fainter stars in the cluster, but the brightest should remain visible and clear, especially through binoculars.

At this phase the Moon will hopefully show the so-called Earthshine, a phantom image of the past or future (?) Full Moon.

This sky scape was taken early in the morning, around 5.30, looking toward the North-East.


JULY 10/11: these nights we can observe bright Venus conjunct the alpha star of  Leo Constellation, Regulus. The sky scape below was taken on July 9, around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.


JULY 13: the tiny Crescent Moon is conjunct Mercury in the dusk twilight, and in line with them, looking up, are Venus, and appearing as it gets darker, also Mars and Saturn.

The snapshot of this event was taken looking North-West, around 5.30 pm.

JULY 15: the waxing Crescent Moon can be observed close to Venus and moving toward Mars, Saturn and Spica, around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.


JULY 16: The waxing Moon will be visibly conjunct Mars and Saturn on July 16. The sky scape below was taken on the 16, around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.


JULY 18: Tonight we can observe the First Quarter Moon conjunct Spica, the alpha star of Constellation Virgo.

This snapshot was taken at around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.

JULY 21: the waxing Moon can be seen very close to Antares, the brilliant alpha star of Scorpio Constellation. The conjunction will become visible as the sky darkens.

The snapshot below was taken around 6 pm, looking toward the east.


JULY 27: Mercury, very low on the western horizon, is perfectly conjunct the alpha star of constellation Leo, Regulus. Above, much brighter than Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn are getting closer to each other (they will be at their closest, as a group, on August 7).

This snapshot was taken at about 6.30 pm, looking West, with a very low horizon, like that of a boat in the middle of the ocean.

Click to enlarge

JULY 31: Soon after entering the tropical Sign of Libra Mars will conjunct Saturn. Venus is close by, due to become conjunct Saturn on August 9 and Mars on August 21.

The three can be seen against the backdrop of Virgo Constellation. This snapshot was taken at around 6.15 pm, looking toward the North-West.

For more snapshots of observable astronomical events in 2010, please CLICK HERE.

All the Sky Snapshots have been generated using Stellarium, a wonderful Planetarium freeware software.

Information for the Sky Events has been gathered from these web sites:

http://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/night-sky-observing-guide-for-june-2010

http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm#update

http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mjpowell/Astro/Naked-Eye-Planets/Naked-Eye-Planets.htm#PlanetList

http://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/night-sky-observing-guide-for-june-2010

http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm#update

*******

June, the month to observe six members of our Solar Family

*******

~ Jupiter at dawn in the eastern sky ~ Mercury, just emerged from darkness, low on the eastern horizon, below bright Jupiter ~ Venus in the western evening sky, for a couple of hours after sunset ~ Mars and Saturn in the North-West at dusk and through the night ~ With a pair of good binoculars we could even spot far away Uranus close to Jupiter in the eastern sky before sunrise ~

*******

MERCURY has re-appeared as a Morning Star, very faintly at first, at the end of May. It will remain visible until mid-June, but very low in the eastern horizon in the pre-dawn sky, below much brighter and more elevated Jupiter, reaching its Superior Conjunction with the Sun on June 28.

*******

VENUS will trace her bright course between the Twin Stars Castor and Pollux (alpha and beta of Gemini constellation) until mid-June, setting with the Beehive Cluster in constellation Cancer by June 19 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

Our Sister Planet will remain the beautiful Evening Star until October 2010. In June it will remain around magnitude -3.9 (its maximum being -4), and also spend more time in the night sky, setting at 8 pm, three hours after the winter Sun (in Southern Latitudes), by the end of June.

The Evening Star’s incarnation of Venus represents a collective opportunity to become more self-reflective, acknowledging our contribution to any relationship issues we may be experiencing. The Goddess of Love is looking deeper into our hearts and show us the way to a less self-centred and more aware kind of loving, (see also Venus in Cancer  post).

*******

MARS‘ light keeps diminishing this month. You can spot Mars in the evening in the North-West, relatively low above the horizon,  reddish in colour, rising in daylight and setting  just before midnight in mid-June. It will be easily spotted on June 6/7 when it will conjunct Regulus, alpha Star of Leo, and, again, on June 16/17 when it will be close to the Waxing Crescent Moon (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

*******

JUPITER, after emerging from the glare of the Sun in March, is now a very bright star, rising at midnight and very conspicuous in the east until sunrise, with the backdrop of the Pisces constellation. By the end of June Jupiter will rise at midnight. Jupiter will become brighter and brighter as the year advances, reaching its greatest brilliance in its whole 11.8 years cycle just in time for the Libra Equinox 2010 (September 21). This is due to the fact the giant planet will reach its perihelion, closest position in relation to the Sun, in March 2011.

*******

There is a companion to Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky, though invisible, so you will need a good pair of binoculars to spot it, 0.4 degrees above Jupiter. It is giant Uranus, spinning at right angle to everyone else, a bluish/green star-like object. Jupiter is -2.4 magnitude and Uranus at 5.8, dim but still the brightest object in the vicinity of Jupiter.

Jupiter and Uranus are conjunct for the first time in nearly 14 years on June 9, and they are nearly as bright as they can be, their opposition from the Sun getting closer. It will be exact on September 22, just as the Sun prepares to enter Tropical Libra (Spring-Autumn Equinox), opposing them only five hours apart from each other. Jupiter and Uranus meet cyclically (synodic cycle) every 13.7 years. This time they are playing a prolonged duet, though, meeting twice in 2010 (June 9 and September 22) and a third time on January 2, 2011. This is a rarer opportunity for the energies of these planets to blend for a sustained period, so exerting a greater overall influence over the affairs of the whole year. The last time Jupiter and Uranus met three times was in 1983, 27 years ago.

Animation of the triple conjunction of Jupiter-Uranus in 2010/11, from Martin J.Powell astronomical site, can be found HERE.

*******

By the end of June Saturn will rise around midday and set around midnight. Saturn emanates a yellowish light, easily spotted between Regulus of constellation Leo and Spica of constellation Virgo, not far from Mars. Like Mars, Saturn also is becoming dimmer this month, around  +1 magnitude, moving away from the Earth at an angle that will cause its rings to become thinner, reflecting less sunlight.

The Moon will be conjunct Saturn on June 18 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

*******

Full Moon in Capricorn, Lunar Eclipse, June26

A Partial Eclipse of the Full Moon is due on June 26. It will happen in the Tropical Sign of  Capricorn, with the Sun in the opposite Sign of Cancer. I re-post here the article I wrote concerning this Eclipse in the 2010 Forecast post (June to September):

Click to enlarge

The Eclipses, once again, accompany the change of season, a significant fact that will make their influence more marked and also longer lasting.

The Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is Partial, visible after sunset from Australasia, and before sunrise in western South and North America.

The Moon, central to the whole interpretation, is transiting in close proximity to Pluto in Capricorn, separated from the position of this planet, as projected on the ecliptic, by a mere 0 degrees and 41 minutes of longitude. The Sun then is of course exactly 180 degrees away from the Moon and also Pluto. Even by itself this configuration would heighten the intensity of the ecliptic Moon, but there is much more. Mercury is in Cancer with the Sun on the day, while Jupiter and Uranus, still conjunct in Aries, are 90 degrees away from both Sun and Moon; while Saturn in Virgo, opposite to them, is also in a wide 90 degrees angle to Sun and Moon. This configuration is known as a Grand Cross, usually connecting four celestial bodies, but, in this case, linking instead seven: Sun, Moon, Pluto, Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn.

Grand Crosses are tough, tight knots, forcing planets to work together, especially problematic if difficult planets are involved, as here are Saturn, Uranus and Pluto, heavy weights of the Zodiac. This Eclipse seems to draw attention and energize the knotty transits coming into activity during this season, the squares and opposition of Saturn to Pluto and Jupiter-Uranus respectively; more about these specific transits later. Some intensely emotional events can be the result of such a configuration corresponding with the time of an eclipse, because the combined forces of Jupiter and Uranus in Aries will create a fierce opposition to the might of Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn, also challenging each other: a time of quickening, a protracted labour inducing the birth of the New (a forceps birth rather than a gentle water birth). Unavoidably astrologers would notice the similarity between this event and the last lunar eclipse of 2009 (or first eclipse of 2010, depending where you were at the time), the one that preceded the Haiti and Chile’s disasters. The Sun and Moon were then placed in the Sign each other occupies in the June eclipse, on opposite hemispheres. The Sun was separating from a conjunction to Pluto and both Sun and Moon were widely square Saturn in Libra. But there is a great difference too.

All Eclipses are grouped under one specific number, known as their Saros number. A Saros group begins with a particular eclipse; other eclipses follow, at an interval of 18 years approximately, all falling around the same degree of longitude.

So, for instance, the Lunar Eclipse of June 26 2010 belongs to the Saros number 120. This group of Lunar Eclipses began with one that took place on October 5, 982 AD, close to the beginning of the last Millennium. The Eclipse that began a series is said to give its colour, tone and vibration to the lot of them. Therefore it is very important to study the first Eclipse of a Saros series to get a feel of what we are dealing with. This first eclipse of the series shows a highly charged Horoscope, but also one with many redeeming factors. The Saros number of the December eclipse instead began with an extremely difficult eclipse in 1000 AD, showing more clearly the potential destructive nature of all the following eclipses of the same number.

For an in-depth reading of the major transits of Saturn and others, for the present and near future, please visit 2010 Forecast page.

*******

*******

JUNE CALENDAR OF OBSERVABLE EVENTS

******

Information and pictures to make you better acquainted with your southern night sky

The different lighting of some of the pictures is due to the time the snapshots of the Planetarium were taken.

THANKS TO STELLARIUM

*******

JUNE 6: the Waning Moon, just past the Last Quarter Phase, will join Jupiter and invisible Uranus in the pre-dawn sky. The snapshot of this event was taken looking East, just before 6 am.

JUNE 6 and 7: Mars is today and tomorrow very close to the Star Regulus, the little King in the constellation Leo. This is a great colour contrast, with red Mars and white-blue Regulus.

The snapshot of this event was taken looking toward the North, at around 7 pm. In ancient times this conjunction would spell the violent or sudden  death of a king or ruler.

Click to enlarge

JUNE 7: Venus is setting very close to Castor, one of the Gemini Twin Stars. While Mars is s still very close to Regulus, the Little King Star (alpha of Leo constellation). A great time to observe Gemini and Leo Stars.

Below is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the West around 6 pm.

JUNE 15: Venus has now moved higher than Castor and Pollux, the Twin Stars, but the tiny Crescent Moon is joyning her in a beautiful display. Here is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the North-West, just before 6 pm.


JUNE 17: the Moon will become conjunct Mars and Regulus tonight. This snapshot was taken looking toward the North-West, just before 7 pm.


JUNE 18-19: the Moon will be close to the conjunction with Saturn over these two days, against the backdrop of the Virgo constellation. This snapshot was taken on June 19 around 10 pm.


JUNE 20: Venus can be seen setting in the Beehive Nebula of constellation Cancer. Here is a snapshot of this event, taken looking toward the West, around 6 pm.


JUNE 20: the Moon is just 04 degrees far from Spica, the Ear of Corn Star in the hand of the Virgin constellation.

Here is a snapshot of the event, taken looking toward the West, around 7 pm.


JUNE 24: the Moon can be oberved very close to the alpha Star of Scorpio, Antares. The snapshot was taken, looking toward the North-West, just before 8 pm.


*******

*******

All the Sky Snapshots have been generated using Stellarium, a wonderful Planetarium freeware software.

Information for the Sky Events has been gathered from these web sites:

http://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/night-sky-observing-guide-for-june-2010

http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm#update

http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/

*******

JUNE 15: Venus has

EYE ON THE SOUTHERN SKY, JUNE 2010

June, the month to observe six members of our Solar Family

~ Jupiter at dawn in the eastern sky ~ Mercury, just emerged from darkness, low on the eastern horizon, below bright Jupiter ~ Venus in the western evening sky, for a couple of hours after sunset ~ Mars and Saturn in the North-West at dusk and through the night ~ With a pair of good binoculars we could even spot far away Uranus close to Jupiter in the eastern sky before sunrise ~

 MERCURY has re-appeared as a Morning Star, very faintly at first, at the end of May. It will remain visible until mid-June, but very low in the eastern horizon in the pre-dawn sky, below much brighter and more elevated Jupiter, reaching its Superior Conjunction with the Sun on June 28.

 VENUS will trace her bright course between the Twin Stars Castor and Pollux (alpha and beta of Gemini constellation) until mid-June, setting with the Beehive Cluster in constellation Cancer by June 19 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

Our Sister Planet will remain the beautiful Evening Star until October 2010. In June it will remain around magnitude -3.9 (its maximum being -4), and also spend more time in the night sky, setting at 8 pm, three hours after the winter Sun (in Southern Latitudes), by the end of June.

The Evening Star’s incarnation of Venus represents a collective opportunity to become more self-reflective, acknowledging our contribution to any relationship issues we may be experiencing. The Goddess of Love is looking deeper into our hearts and show us the way to a less self-centred and more aware kind of loving, (see also Venus in Cancer  post).

 MARS‘ light keeps diminishing this month. You can spot Mars in the evening in the North-West, relatively low above the horizon,  reddish in colour, rising in daylight and setting  just before midnight in mid-June. It will be easily spotted on June 6/7 when it will conjunct Regulus, alpha Star of Leo, and, again, on June 16/17 when it will be close to the Waxing Crescent Moon (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

 JUPITER, after emerging from the glare of the Sun in March, is now a very bright star, rising at midnight and very conspicuous in the east until sunrise, with the backdrop of the Pisces constellation. By the end of June Jupiter will rise at midnight. Jupiter will become brighter and brighter as the year advances, reaching its greatest brilliance in its whole 11.8 years cycle just in time for the Libra Equinox 2010 (September 21). This is due to the fact the giant planet will reach its perihelion, closest position in relation to the Sun, in March 2011.

 There is a companion to Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky, though invisible, so you will need a good pair of binoculars to spot it, 0.4 degrees above Jupiter. It is giant Uranus, spinning at right angle to everyone else, a bluish/green star-like object. Jupiter is -2.4 magnitude and Uranus at 5.8, dim but still the brightest object in the vicinity of Jupiter.

Jupiter and Uranus are conjunct for the first time in nearly 14 years on June 9, and they are nearly as bright as they can be, their opposition from the Sun getting closer. It will be exact on September 22, just as the Sun prepares to enter Tropical Libra (Spring-Autumn Equinox), opposing them only five hours apart from each other. Jupiter and Uranus meet cyclically (synodic cycle) every 13.7 years. This time they are playing a prolonged duet, though, meeting twice in 2010 (June 9 and September 22) and a third time on January 2, 2011. This is a rarer opportunity for the energies of these planets to blend for a sustained period, so exerting a greater overall influence over the affairs of the whole year. The last time Jupiter and Uranus met three times was in 1983, 27 years ago.

Animation of the triple conjunction of Jupiter-Uranus in 2010/11, from Martin J.Powell astronomical site, can be found HERE.

 By the end of June Saturn will rise around midday and set around midnight. Saturn emanates a yellowish light, easily spotted between Regulus of constellation Leo and Spica of constellation Virgo, not far from Mars. Like Mars, Saturn also is becoming dimmer this month, around  +1 magnitude, moving away from the Earth at an angle that will cause its rings to become thinner, reflecting less sunlight.

The Moon will be conjunct Saturn on June 18 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

 Full Moon in Capricorn, Lunar Eclipse, June26

A Partial Eclipse of the Full Moon is due on June 26. It will happen in the Tropical Sign of  Capricorn, with the Sun in the opposite Sign of Cancer. I re-post here the article I wrote concerning this Eclipse in the 2010 Forecast post (June to September):

Click to enlarge

The Eclipses, once again, accompany the change of season, a significant fact that will make their influence more marked and also longer lasting.

The Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is Partial, visible after sunset from Australasia, and before sunrise in western South and North America.

The Moon, central to the whole interpretation, is transiting in close proximity to Pluto in Capricorn, separated from the position of this planet, as projected on the ecliptic, by a mere 0 degrees and 41 minutes of longitude. The Sun then is of course exactly 180 degrees away from the Moon and also Pluto. Even by itself this configuration would heighten the intensity of the ecliptic Moon, but there is much more. Mercury is in Cancer with the Sun on the day, while Jupiter and Uranus, still conjunct in Aries, are 90 degrees away from both Sun and Moon; while Saturn in Virgo, opposite to them, is also in a wide 90 degrees angle to Sun and Moon. This configuration is known as a Grand Cross, usually connecting four celestial bodies, but, in this case, linking instead seven: Sun, Moon, Pluto, Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn.

Grand Crosses are tough, tight knots, forcing planets to work together, especially problematic if difficult planets are involved, as here are Saturn, Uranus and Pluto, heavy weights of the Zodiac. This Eclipse seems to draw attention and energize the knotty transits coming into activity during this season, the squares and opposition of Saturn to Pluto and Jupiter-Uranus respectively; more about these specific transits later. Some intensely emotional events can be the result of such a configuration corresponding with the time of an eclipse, because the combined forces of Jupiter and Uranus in Aries will create a fierce opposition to the might of Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn, also challenging each other: a time of quickening, a protracted labour inducing the birth of the New (a forceps birth rather than a gentle water birth). Unavoidably astrologers would notice the similarity between this event and the last lunar eclipse of 2009 (or first eclipse of 2010, depending where you were at the time), the one that preceded the Haiti and Chile’s disasters. The Sun and Moon were then placed in the Sign each other occupies in the June eclipse, on opposite hemispheres. The Sun was separating from a conjunction to Pluto and both Sun and Moon were widely square Saturn in Libra. But there is a great difference too.

All Eclipses are grouped under one specific number, known as their Saros number. A Saros group begins with a particular eclipse; other eclipses follow, at an interval of 18 years approximately, all falling around the same degree of longitude.

So, for instance, the Lunar Eclipse of June 26 2010 belongs to the Saros number 120. This group of Lunar Eclipses began with one that took place on October 5, 982 AD, close to the beginning of the last Millennium. The Eclipse that began a series is said to give its colour, tone and vibration to the lot of them. Therefore it is very important to study the first Eclipse of a Saros series to get a feel of what we are dealing with. This first eclipse of the series shows a highly charged Horoscope, but also one with many redeeming factors. The Saros number of the December eclipse instead began with an extremely difficult eclipse in 1000 AD, showing more clearly the potential destructive nature of all the following eclipses of the same number.

For an in-depth reading of the major transits of Saturn and others, for the present and near future, please visit 2010 Forecast page.

 

JUNE CALENDAR OF OBSERVABLE EVENTS

 Information and pictures to make you better acquainted with your southern night sky

The different lighting of some of the pictures is due to the time the snapshots of the Planetarium were taken.

THANKS TO STELLARIUM

JUNE 6: the Waning Moon, just past the Last Quarter Phase, will join Jupiter and invisible Uranus in the pre-dawn sky. The snapshot of this event was taken looking East, just before 6 am.

JUNE 6 and 7: Mars is today and tomorrow very close to the Star Regulus, the little King in the constellation Leo. This is a great colour contrast, with red Mars and white-blue Regulus.

The snapshot of this event was taken looking toward the North, at around 7 pm. In ancient times this conjunction would spell the violent or sudden  death of a king or ruler.

Click to enlarge

JUNE 7: Venus is setting very close to Castor, one of the Gemini Twin Stars. While Mars is s still very close to Regulus, the Little King Star (alpha of Leo constellation). A great time to observe Gemini and Leo Stars.

Below is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the West around 6 pm.

JUNE 15: Venus has now moved higher than Castor and Pollux, the Twin Stars, but the tiny Crescent Moon is joyning her in a beautiful display. Here is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the North-West, just before 6 pm.

JUNE 17: the Moon will become conjunct Mars and Regulus tonight. This snapshot was taken looking toward the North-West, just before 7 pm.


JUNE 18-19: the Moon will be close to the conjunction with Saturn over these two days, against the backdrop of the Virgo constellation. This snapshot was taken on June 19 around 10 pm.


JUNE 20: Venus can be seen setting in the Beehive Nebula of constellation Cancer. Here is a snapshot of this event, taken looking toward the West, around 6 pm.


JUNE 20: the Moon is just 04 degrees far from Spica, the Ear of Corn Star in the hand of the Virgin constellation.

Here is a snapshot of the event, taken looking toward the West, around 7 pm.


JUNE 24: the Moon can be oberved very close to the alpha Star of Scorpio, Antares. The snapshot was taken, looking toward the North-West, just before 8 pm.


All the Sky Snapshots have been generated using Stellarium, a wonderful Planetarium freeware software.

Information for the Sky Events has been gathered from these web sites:

http://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/night-sky-observing-guide-for-june-2010

http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm#update

http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/

JUNE 15: Venus has

EARLY MORNING SKY ON MOTHER’S DAY, MOON CONJUNCT JUPITER-URANUS

*******

MAY 9: the waning Moon in the Tropical Sign of  Pisces will be conjunct Jupiter, event visible in the early eastern sky before sunrise. Uranus will be there also, invisible unless you are looking through a powerful telescope.

Below is a snapshot of this conjunction, looking toward the East around 5 am.

Read more about the visible planets in May in Eye on the Southern Sky

*******

EYE ON THE SOUTHERN SKY, MAY 2010

 

May, the month to observe four close members of our Solar family

Jupiter at dawn

Venus, Mars, and Saturn at dusk and through the night

 Jupiter is the only planet visible in the east in the early morning, very easy to spot, being the brightest object in that part of the sky. Jupiter will become brighter and brighter as the year advances, reaching its greatest brilliance in its whole 11.8 years cycle just in time for the Libra Equinox 2010 (September 21).This is due to the fact that Jupiter will reach its perihelion, closest position in relation to the Sun, in March 2011.

The giant planet has nearly finished its swift transit through the Sign of Pisces, leaving it on June 6. Jupiter will return to Pisces later in the year (September 9), until January 2011.

The passage of Jupiter over your own Sun Sign (or Moon, Ascendant Sign), should bring a desire to improve your circumstances, also a better feeling about yourself and your prospects. Through Jupiter we can have a more clear and promising visions of our potential, and a more positive outlook on life in general (see Jupiter in Pisces post).

On May 9 Jupiter will shine close south of the waning Moon in Pisces (see  a picture of this conjunction in May’s Observable Events, below).

Every morning then, during this Jupiter Morning Star’s period we could all look up into this bright disk and ‘see’ ourselves evolving and living brighter, more fulfilling lives. This exercise could prove especially rewarding for the Water Signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) and the Earth Signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn).

 Venus will wear her beautiful evening gown until the end of October 2010. Our sister planet is becoming brighter in May, reaching a magnitude of -3.9. When so brilliant Venus is sometimes mistaken for a plane or UFO and can be observed even before sunset

The Evening Star’s incarnation of Venus represents a collective opportunity to become more self-reflective, acknowledging our contribution to any relationship issues we may be experiencing. The Goddess of Love is looking deeper into our hearts and show us the way to a less self-centred and more aware kind of loving, (see also Venus in Gemini  post).

At the start of the month of May, Venus will be on dark close to the Hyades cluster of  the Taurus Constellation, not far north of Aldebaran, the alpha star of the same. Venus will be easy to spot throughout the month, in the North-East from early evening, say 5 to 5.30 pm, if you have a clear, flat horizon, setting around 6.30 pm. An important astronomical event is be falling Venus on May 16, an occultation (planetary eclipse) by the Moon,  the first this year. Unfortunately the event will occur during day-light hours in Australia, while it will be observable from Thailand and Indonesia. The next occultations of Venus by the Moon will happen on September 11 and November 5 this year; the latter event will be observable from Western Australia.

 In May Retrograde Mercury will be lost in the twilight (its latest Inferior Conjunction with the Sun having occurred on April 28), until it will re-appear as Morning Star, very faintly at first, on May 31.

Mercury will turn Direct again on May 12. For the possible effects of the retro motion of Mercury in Taurus click here. And for general information on the phenomenon of Retrogradation please check this Tutorial.

 Mars, still transiting the Tropical or Seasonal Sign of Leo, will be entering the Constellation of Leo in May, leaving behind the Cancer Beehive, beautiful Star Cluster in the Constellation of Cancer. Mars’ light is diminishing this month. You can spot Mars in the evening in the North-West, low above the horizon,  reddish in colour, forming two imaginary lines: the first with the Stars Sirius, the Big Dog in the Constellation of Canis Major, at the heels of hunter Orion, and Procyon, the Little Dog in the Constellation of Canis Mino; and the second with Regulus, alpha Star of Leo, Saturn and Spica, alpha Star of Virgo Constellation.

On May 20 a conjunction of Mars to the waxing Crescent Moon will be observable in the North-West, after dark (see a picture of this conjunction in May’s Observable Events, below).

 Saturn will rise before sunset in May, and it will be easily visible between the Stars Regulus (Constellation Leo) and Spica (Constellation Virgo). By around 10 pm Saturn will be high in the sky. Like Mars, Saturn also is becoming dimmer this month, moving away from the Earth at an angle that will cause its rings to become thinner, reflecting less sunlight. Saturn will transit Virgo in retrogradation from April 8, re-entering Libra only in July. For an in-depth reading of the major transits of Saturn and others, for the present and near future, please visit 2010 Forecast page.

 Around May 6 the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower will reach its peak. Eta is a Star in Aquarius and it is against the backdrop of this Constellation that the shower takes place. These meteors are remnants of Halley’s Comet, deposited as a stream of debris during one of its passes close to our planet. Between May 1 and 8 you can look East, after sunset, to spot those meteors. They in fact start appearing well before the rising of the Constellation of Aquarius that occur after midnight.

 MAY CALENDAR OF OBSERVABLE EVENTS

Information and pictures to make you better acquainted with your southern night sky

The different lighting of some of the pictures is due to the time the snapshots of the Planetarium were taken.

THANKS TO STELLARIUM

MAY 9: the waning Moon in the Tropical Sign of  Pisces will be conjunct Jupiter, event visible in the early eastern sky before sunrise. Uranus will be there also, invisible unless you are looking through a powerful telescope.

Below is a snapshot of this conjunction, looking toward the East around 5 am.

9 MAY Moon Jupiter  Uranus

 

MAY 16: the tiny Crescent Moon in the Sign of Gemini can be observed very close to Venus, in fact occulting Venus (but not for Australian and New Zealand’s viewers).

Below is a snapshot of this conjunction, looking toward the North-West, after sunset.

16 MAY MOON OCCULTS VENUS

MAY 20: the waxing Crescent Moon will be visibly conjunct Mars, in the North-West after sunset.

Below is a snapshot of this event.

20 MAY MARS MOON

MAY 21: the First Quarter Moon, on the cusp Leo-Virgo, will be seen close to the Star Regulus, alpha of Leo Constellation. Mars will be in the picture too.

Below is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the North-West, before 9 pm.

21 MAY MOON REGULUS MARS

MAY 24: the waxing Gibbous Moon in Libra will be seen conjunct Spica, the alpha Star of Virgo Constellation.

Below is a snapshot of this beautiful event, taken at around 6 pm, looking toward the East. Saturn is also in the picture.

24 MAY MOON SPICA SATURN

MAY 28: the Full Moon in Sagittarius (Tropical Sign) can be seen conjunct Antares, alpha Star of Scorpio Constellation.

The snapshot below shows this conjunction and was taken looking toward the East, around 6 pm.

28 MAY FULL MOON ANTARES All the Sky Snapshots have been generated using Stellarium, a wonderful Planetarium freeware software.

Information for the Sky Events has been gathered from these web sites:

http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm

http://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/night-sky-observing-guide-for-april-2010

http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm#update

http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/