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Monday, January 30, 2017

 

The Moon meets Venus and Mars (31 Jan - 2 Feb 2017)

Evening sky on Tuesday January 31 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 21:25 ACDST (60 minutes after sunset). Venus and (now dim) Mars form a triangle with the thin crescent Moon.  Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 60 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).
Wednesday February 1, same conditions a panel 1.  Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 60 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).
Thursday February 2, same conditions a panel 1. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 60 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).

The next few nights will see a delightful line-up in the early evening sky, The thin crescent Moon meets Venus and Mars (and Uranus) making lovely evening viewing on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. While the Moon and Venus will be readily visible shortly after sunset, fainter Mars will not be clearly visible until 40 minutes after sunset, and the trio should be clearly visible up to 90 minutes after sunset.

Although Uranus is just bright enough to be above the unaided eye threshold, you will really bee binoculars to see it.

Tuesday is also a good time to see Venus in the daylight. Venus can be readily visible during the day if you know where to look. Using the Moon as a handy guide will help you find it.

Make sure the Sun is hidden behind something solid like a building or a wall when you are looking for Venus, not trees or your hand. Exposing your eyes directly to the glare of the Sun can be very dangerous and you could potentially lose your sight.

Look for the crescent Moon, and Venus should be visible as a bright dot about four finger-widths to the right of the Moon.  It's best to look just before Sunset when the Sun is low and the sky is less bright. You may need to look carefully for a while before Venus "pops" out at you. Sometimes locating Venus in binoculars will help with locating it with the unaided eye. If you are using binoculars MAKE SURE THE SUN IS COMPLETELY HIDDEN BY A SOLID OBJECT LIKE A BUILDING OR WALL. ACCIDENTALLY VIEWING THE SUN IN BINOCULARS WILL DAMAGE YOUR EYES.

Here are some examples of Venus (and other objects) in the daylight.

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