Sunday, March 4, 2018


Hey Space Placers!

As March progresses make an effort to watch the movements of Mercury and Venus in the Western sky this month.

I got this pic on 8/3/18 when the two were at their closest to one another. Venus is on the left and always the brighter of the two.

Venus (L) and Mercury in the West after sunset
Greg Redfern
For the next two weeks the planetary pair will rise higher in the West making them easier to see and on the 18th the Waxing Crescent Moon will join them to make a nice view.

To see them find a Western horizon clear of obstructions, and go outside about 20 minutes after sunset. Look to the left of where the Sun set, or to the left go the bright horizon glow of the set Sun. If you have binoculars this will help too although they will be visible to the unaided eye as the month progresses.

Venus and Mercury will change their positions in the sky due to their respective orbits around the Sun as well as that of our own planet. It is viewing opportunities like this that show us that we live in a dynamic solar system where constant motion is the name of the game.

Venus will remain visible and resplendent in the Western sky for the most part of 2018. Mercury will move from the evening to morning sky later this month.

While looking West after sunset if you have a dark sky site look for the Zodiacal Light as it gets dark now that the Moon rises later each night. This will be visible as a pyramid shaped band of dim light that is tilted to the left in the sky from the horizon.

Zodiacal Light At Sea
Greg Redfern
We see it due to the reflection of sunlight off of the countless particles of interplanetary dust. The best time to look is when it just gets dark, about 80 or so minutes after sunset.

For my southern hemisphere Space Placers it will be visible in the East before sunrise but you have to wait a few days for the Moon to be less bright.

Enjoy your time outdoors looking at the sky as we get nearer and near to the Vernal Equinox.

Sky Guy in VA

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