August 2016

There’s something unusual about this month. None of the naked eye planets are visible in the morning. Two of them will be hard to spot in the evening. Look west just after sunset. Venus is barely above the horizon. Jupiter is above it and to the left. Between them but closer to Venus you can […]

July 2016

July 2016 provides the chance to see five naked eye planets in one viewing session right after the sun goes down. Two of them will be close to the horizon as darkness sets in. So they won’t be up long. Let’s start with Jupiter. The big planet will move slowly below the belly of Leo […]

June 2016

When June starts, Saturn is up all night. It’s at opposition on the 3rd. You’ll see the ringed planet rising just under Mars in the east as the sun goes down. Don’t confuse Mars with Antares which has nearly the same red color. The red planet rises a little before the red star and is […]

May 2016

As May starts, Orion sets shortly after the sun. The twins of Gemini are above him. Leo is just past the meridian with Jupiter at his belly. Virgo is high and still rising. Arcturus is high in the east. Jupiter is just about holding still in the sky when May starts, but it moves eastward […]

April 2016

As April 2016 starts, the Taurus V and the Pleiades are high in the west at sunset. Orion is a little higher and sets after them. Canis Major is closer to the meridian and so sets about midnight. Leo is high in the east with Jupiter just below it. Mercury is a little hard to […]

March 2016

March starts with just one naked eye planet visible at sunset. Jupiter is rising just below Leo. It will stay in about the same place all month. Opposition for Jupiter is on the 8th. It’s 4.435 astronomical units from Earth on the date. Boötes and Virgo rise a few hours later in the evening. Mars […]

February 2016

In the early part of this month, you’ll be able to see all five naked eye planets in the sky at the same time. You may think the best view is on the mornings in the first week of February. The moon is new on the 7th. So a waning moon will serve as a […]

January 2016

Mercury is an evening object at the start of the month. If you can find it, it will be below the stars of Capricornus at nightfall. The Great Square of Pegasus is high just west of the meridian at sunset, the Pleiades and Hyades are high in the east, and Orion is rising. You’ll find […]