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The fun in science starts here!
Saturn is at opposition, meaning, it is closest to the Earth right now. This view is facing southeast one hour after sunset.
The Sun passing The Pleiades (it looks like the Little Dipper at the top and heading right). I will update this over the next few days. These images are from the SOHO spacecraft.
The software for this image is free and can be found at http://www.stellarium.org/. It's also great to use if you want to know what the Moon looks like three days or three years from now. It's very easy to use! (My fireflies are rugged in all weather conditions!)
A very nice manual simplified down to 18 pages with lots of pictures in how to use Stellarium!
Venus in the evening sky forty-five minutes after sunset.
from December 2014 through August 2015
(Use the green buttons to stop and resume play of the animation.)
I have always been a fan of Guy Ottewell's Astronomical Calendar over the decades, and the above graphic should look familiar if you had ever read any of his yearly books. I always enjoyed the page where he showed Venus in the evening or morning sky (and I haven't seen his 2015 edition yet, but I am looking forward to seeing it)!
Each frame represents one day of time which comes to a total of 238 days from December 10, 2014 through August 3, 2015. The focus of the animation is on Venus, since it is the brightest planet as seen from Earth. Last year, Venus traveled low along the horizon from the northwest to the southwest. This year, our "sister planet" is moving in the opposite direction and making a steady climb high into the sky with it peaking early next summer. From now through August 3rd, Venus will come closer and closer to the Earth with it reaching inferior conjunction on August 15, 2015 very near the Sun. But before reaching that point, Venus will reach greatest elongation east on June 6th. Around May 10th, Venus will be the furthest from the horizon. Venus will be in conjunction with Mercury on January 11th, then Mars on February 22nd, and finally with Jupiter on July 1st. Many of the dates were obtained at In-The-Sky.org.
I have inserted a small view of what you would see if you were to watch Venus through a telescope over the coming months near the green buttons. Venus starts off small and round in December. As the days progress, Venus will become larger and closer to the Earth as it goes through its various phases of illumination much like the Moon. By the time it reaches August 2015, Venus will appear as a thin crescent phase just before heading below the horizon.
Partial Eclipse of the Sun on September 13, 2015
Jupiter, Venus and a firefly in the evening sky for May 19th aimed at the constellation of Gemini.
Total Eclipse of the Sun - August 21, 2017 - USA This magnificent eclipse is less than two and a half from now... are you ready?
Click on the map to see the full animation and maps
Click on the lunar eclipse graphic above for past animations of eclipses, meteor showers and more.