Sunday: Tonight Jupiter’s four Galilean moons are all visible on the eastern side of the planet. The moons are well spaced so that you could see all four with binoculars. As you watch the moons they are in a different position each night. On Friday only three moons will be visible for a couple of hours on the eastern side. By Saturday this number reduces to two moons for a few hours.

Monday: The last quarter moon occurred yesterday, but it will not be visible until this morning. When the moon is out today, it will be halfway along one of Taurus the bull’s horns.

Tuesday: A bright Iridium flare occurs this tonight in the eastern sky. The flare occurs about eight degrees north of the bright star Altair 60 degrees above the eastern horizon. When the flair occurs at 8:52 p.m., it will be the brightest object in the sky, twice as bright as Venus in the west.

Wednesday: The constellation of Scorpius is low in the south-southwest tonight, and contains several interesting star clusters. One is found by starting at the tip of Scorpio’s stinger and moving 5 degrees to the upper left to find the Butterfly Cluster. It is barely visible to the unaided eye even from a dark site. Binoculars will resolve a few stars in this cluster. With a small telescope and a little imagination, this cluster resembles the shape of a butterfly.

Thursday: The distance between the Venus and the Earth is shrinking as the two planets move closer to each other in their orbits. This will cause Venus to appear slightly brighter, but more significant, it appears larger through binoculars. Either device aimed at the planet will show a wide crescent shape. In fact, Venus now appears about as large as Jupiter, and Venus will continue to grow in size over the next six weeks.

Friday: Neptune reaches opposition today; without the moon in the sky you will be able to spot it with an optical aide. Neptune is visible with binoculars or a telescope, but unlike most planets through a telescope Neptune will show only a small disk. To spot Neptune look for the constellation of Aquarius in the southeast. Aquarius is not a bright constellation, but it is located to the east of Capricornus. The planet is located about half way between the stars Gamma Aquarii and Phi Aquarii. The link to the finder chart below will help in finding the most distant planet. http://wwwcdn.skyandtelescope.com/wp-content/uploads/WEB_UrNep18.pdf

Saturday: Low in the eastern sky this morning is the crescent moon and the star Regulus. The pair are separated by less than 2 degrees, but Regulus may not appear bright in the growing light of dawn. If your horizon is flat and clear enough you may even spot Mercury about 3 degrees below the pair.

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-- Chris Pagan

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