September 2023

August ends with a full moon. As September begins, the moon’s crossing the equator going north. The waning gibbous moon passes by Jupiter on the 4th. Last quarter is on the 6th when the moon passes around 9° from Aldebaran. Northern lunistice is on the 8th at 28.2° from the equator. See the fat waning […]

August 2023

The best view of the evening planets this month is from the southern hemisphere, particularly about 15 to 20 degrees south of the equator. Venus is close to the horizon after sunset when August starts. Mercury isn’t far above it. And Mars is a little higher still. They’re all in Leo. Those watching from middle […]

July 2023

The first of four so-called supermoons in a row is this month. On July 3, full moon will be at 11:39 Universal Time at a distance of 361,926 kilometers between the center of the earth and the center of the moon. The August 1 full moon will be closer at 357,510 kilometers. The August 31 […]

June 2023

As May ended, Mercury had just been at greatest elongation and began its retreat from the morning sky. It won’t be at superior conjunction until July 1, so most sky watchers have about the first half of this month to try to spot it. The messenger planet is predicted to be at dichotomy—its semi-circle phass–on […]

May 2023

For northern hemisphere sky watchers, Orion is signaling that winter is long gone. The hunter sets in the early evening. Southern hemisphere observers can take this as a sign of winter. Venus is nearby. It’s close to the star El Nath at the edge of Taurus and Auriga when May starts. Mars starts the month […]

April 2023

Don’t plan on seeing Jupiter this month. April starts with the big planet retreating from the evening sky toward solar conjunction on the 11th and 12th. Coincidentally, Mercury is at greatest elongation at the same time. After marching into the evening sky, it reaches 19.5° east of the sun. At that time, the messenger planet […]

March 2023

The month starts with a close paring of Venus and Jupiter. Look west as darkness begins. With binoculars you may spot Vesta nearby. In a telescope, Venus is gibbous and Jupiter has little companions called the Galilean moons because Galileo was the first to see them. Venus traverses Pisces the rest of the month, climbing […]

February 2023

For comet watchers, the most exciting thing this month is sure to be C/2022 E3 (ZTF). It will be closest to Earth on the 1st at approximately 12 hours UT at 42.47 million kilometers. That’s 26.39 million miles or 0.284 astronomical units. Comet brightness is notoriously hard to predict. It’s expected to be visible to […]

January 2023

Happy New Year! 2023 starts with Mercury in retreat. After its close encounter with Venus on the last evenings of 2022, the messenger planet is sinking fast into the sunset. Depending on where you are, it may already be too late for you to see it on the first night of the year because it […]

December 2022

Venus and Mercury are evening objects and hard to see as the month starts. Observers close to the equator and in the low southern latitudes have the best view of Mercury pulling up higher than Venus alongside the stars of Sagittarius. Mercury is close to Kaus Borealis (the northern bow star) on the evening of […]