You can see it with the naked eye, though you’ll of course have better views through binoculars or a telescope. Which planets are visible tonight? According to the California Institute of Technology. So if you hope to view dim, distant galaxies or nebulae, you’ll need to know the date of the next New Moon, so you can observe without any interfering moonlight. Be forewarned … this young, pale, fragile crescent after sunset October 17 will be a challenge to spot, even with binoculars, especially from Northern Hemisphere locations. A Large Harvest Moon Will Be Eclipsed Tonight, The "Buck Moon" Will Rule the Sky Tonight, One of Saturn's Moons Has Mysterious Giant Red Streaks, NASA Teams Up For Model 3D Printed Lander. Occasionally, the Moon will actually pass in front of and hide a star or planet. US meteorologist Brandon Spinner tweeted: "Excuse the blurry photo, but take a look at the Moon this morning! What Planets Are Visible Tonight? See today's front and back pages, download the newspaper, Plus, this virtual sky corresponds with the sky in your particular location—either use auto-location, or input a location. With a 100mm objective lens for maximum light gathering, this is the Rolls-Royce of stargazing binoculars, but you're going to want a tripod for keeping things in focus. What sets Neptune apart? The autumn angle of the ecliptic buries the young moon in the glare of evening twilight. The Sun rises in the east, and Mercury will appear in the east too. Uranus is roughly in the opposite direction of the Sun, so it is visible during most of the night. October 31, Uranus at Opposition: Uranus is so far away that you can’t see it well with the naked eye, and basic telescopes will struggle to show you much more than a tiny bluish-green dot. Valdivia (40 degrees south latitude): These events only happen on specific dates, so plan … To appreciate these planets, you need a good pair of binoculars or a telescope. The second planet from the Sun is coated in a dense and cloudy atmosphere that makes it incredibly reflective. Don’t miss seeing Mars at opposition on October 13! Of course, you still need to have a general idea of where to look. That’s sunlight being reflected off Earth and onto the Moon. Or, if you belong to as astronomy club, you can ask for help from more experienced members. These events only happen on specific dates, so plan ahead to see them. Since it’s now early spring in the Southern Hemisphere and early autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, the steeper angle of the ecliptic in Valdivia keeps the moon (and the planet Mercury) out longer after sundown than in Philadelphia. You can see how it looked here! Dates and times also vary depending on your time zone, so make sure to double-check times for any event you’re hoping to observe. However, you still may be able to see Saturn if you live in a city. March 31, Conjunction of Mars and Saturn. This wider view helps you find things more easily. A pair of binoculars should help you see four of Jupiter’s moons. When it appears in the morning, it can be found in the east (like the rising Sun); when it appears in the evening, it is found in the west (like the setting Sun). "It showed me loads of objects thousands of light-years away, but not the moon! The calculator can display times for locations across the U.S. and Canada; simply input your ZIP or Postal code above to see times for your location. Once you find it, you can take note of the planet’s current phase. Your first step is to get outside and up a hill, ideally in a nice field without tons of trees to block your views of the horizon. This is just a sampler of the many exciting astronomical events that you can observe this year. How we test gear. When to head outside and watch? Beta The Interactive Night Sky Map simulates the sky above London on a date of your choice. Map via Earth View. How big are the planets and what is their order from the Sun? In 2020, that means March 9, when it appears with Venus. Which direction should you look to find Mercury? And although at first glance this might look like a star, it is actually a planet. Each week I pick out the northern hemisphere’s celestial highlights (mid-northern latitudes) for the week ahead, but be sure to check my main feed for more in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy and eclipses. "That star is actually the planet #Venus, and you'll be hearing quite a lot about it later today, so go take a look...". Everyplace west of it, the sunset comes more than one day (24 hours) after new moon on October 17. Stellarium also provides a list of what planets are visible on a given night. Look west after sunset! August 11-12, Perseids: The Perseids constitute one of the best-known and most enjoyable meteor showers in the Northern Hemisphere. It will look similar to a full moon, just a few shades darker. Tuesday, October 13, 2020: Mars at opposition. The calculator can display times for locations across the U.S. and Canada; simply input your ZIP or Postal code above to see times for your location. Visibility improves as the sunlight fades. They are: And Honorable Mention goes to Earth, which is certainly visible but not really the point here. Mercury sets 84 minutes after the sun (October 17), Philadelphia (40 degrees north latitude): However, it’s also a week where the Moon wanes towards its New phase, meaning dark skies at night, gorgeous crescents in the early pre-dawn mornings early in the week, and in early evenings from next Sunday. It will then move through Scorpius (until January 15), Ophiuchus (until February 11), Sagittarius (until March 30), and Capricorn (until May 8). order back issues and use the historic Daily Express If you have a telescope, challenge yourself to find not only the planet itself but also its details and features. July 4-5, penumbral lunar eclipse: This lunar eclipse will be visible from South America, most of Africa and North America, and western Europe. Also like Mercury, Venus tends to stay quite close to the horizon line. Look for Venus and Neptune as they appear close together in the sky. It is either visible just before sunrise or just after sunset. Have we found life? July 20, Saturn at Opposition: Less than a week later, Saturn makes an impressive appearance. ", DON'T MISS...'Perfect' white disk over Yorkshire sparks claims of cloaked UFO [VIDEO]Asteroid news: Alien hunters believe UFO spotted on Bennu by NASA [PICTURES]Life on Venus: What does phosphine discovery mean? It’s important information that helps me plan some of my stargazing. I'm the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and the author of "A Stargazing Program for Beginners: A Pocket Field Guide" (Springer, 2015), as well as many eclipse-chasing guides. A step up from beginner binoculars, the Aculon is designed with maximum portability in mind, making for some surprisingly light binoculars. It’s therefore at its biggest and brightest. Venus shines brightly in the sky and can be stunning to observe. The Sun sets in the west, and Mercury will appear in the west as well. Use it to locate a planet, the Moon, or the Sun and track their movements across the sky. Neptune will be in conjunction with Venus on January 27, with Mercury on April 3, and with Mars on June 12; the January 27 conjunction is best seen from the Northern Hemisphere, while the latter two conjunctions are both best seen from the Southern Hemisphere. The map also shows the phases of the Moon, and all solar and lunar eclipses. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. It helps you get acquainted with the sky and the positions of the constellations. On this map, the line of sunset is crossing the Atlantic Ocean. You should have about an hour-long window either pre-dawn or post-dusk in which to find Mercury. If you want a quick reference for later, check out this chart, which indicates, at a glance, whether a particular planet is visible on a given morning or night. You have a slightly longer window of time in which to find Venus, however, since it is further from the Sun. many astronomers enjoy observing the Moon and are hoping to catch it when it’s full. You can locate Mars by researching where it is located in relation to constellations. If your finderscope is properly aligned, then this target should show up in your telescope’s eyepiece. The Ursids aren’t as flashy and dramatic as the Geminids just a week before, but I’m fond of them nonetheless. Try your hand at finding the planets, get your friends together to view an eclipse, or chill out in a camp chair as you watch a meteor shower. "Venus is so bright because its thick clouds reflect most of the sunlight that reaches it - about 70 percent - back into space, and because it is the closest planet to Earth. (Of course, they’re not actually located super close to each other, but from the vantage point of Earth, they appear in close proximity and can be viewed together). Right now, however, the moon is traveling faster than average! In 2020, this shower is expected to peak the night of December 13-14, which is close to a new moon—that means dark skies and excellent viewing conditions. For a longer list of 2020 astronomical events, check out this calendar. July 14, Jupiter at Opposition: July 2020 is a great month for viewing two of the most exciting and visually captivating planets. Use it to locate a planet, the Moon, or the Sun and track their movements across the sky. Then expect the young moon to become more picturesque – and easier to see – in the following evenings, as a brighter, wider crescent. Try your luck in the pre-dawn hours of October 22. Pluto is too tiny to see with the naked eye. Finally, Venus appears to have phases like the Moon. Check out Naked Eye Planets for a super-detailed description of when and where Jupiter will be visible in the night sky during 2020. I’ve just checked it for my location tonight: The results? I'm an experienced science, technology and travel journalist and stargazer writing about exploring the night sky, solar and lunar eclipses, moon-gazing, astro-travel. You can also subscribe to Astronomy magazine, which runs a “Sky this Month” column. It’s also visible all night, rising at dusk in the east and setting at dawn in the west. Many stargazers were surprised to learn the bright light near the Moon is not a star but the planet Venus. Grab your calendar: Here are some of the best things to see in the sky in 2020. Valdivia, Chile (40 degrees south latitude) and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (40 degrees north latitude) and pretty much reside on the same longitude (75 degrees west). After 10 p.m. local time, the moon will be nearly full and Saturn will appear as a "glowing, yellow-white 'star' to the moon's upper left," per Space.com. You decide! And the planet has been in the news this week for one more, critical reason. After sunset and most of the night. Did you know that Saturn is losing its rings though? The night of May 4-5 is expected to be optimal, though it should be active from April 19 until May 28. "Thought I'd give my new astronomy app a test run to find out what it was. Take a look at the star maps here (Northern Hemisphere) and here (Southern Hemisphere) to get a general sense of Neptune’s position in the sky, from 2006 to 2023.
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