Monday, February 25, 2019


Hey Space Placers!

Get out this week after sunset and before sunrise to see all 5 visible planets in the sky.

30 minutes after sunset (Northern Hemisphere primarily) the Winged Messenger, Mercury is an easy sight in the West if you have a clear view of the horizon. Binoculars really help in the search but the elusive planet is a bright yellow-golden color and is the brightest object in the western sky about one fist width at arm's length.

Mars is visible about half way up in the sky from the western horizon and is a shadow of it glorious appearance in 2018.

Mercury and Mars in the western sky 30 minutes after sunset
Credit: Sky Safari Pro 6
Moving on to the morning sky, the Moon will pass Jupiter, Venus and Saturn this week in the pre-dawn sky in the southeast (Northern and Southern Hemispheres). When the Moon becomes a crescent the Milky Way will be easy to see if you are in a dark sky location. Seeing the Moon move relative to the planets each morning emphasizes its motion in the sky.


Be on the lookout for Earthshine on the slim crescent Moon. It is the reflection of sunlight off our planet's clouds back into space to illuminate the darkened portion of the Moon - a VERY beautiful sight.

The picture below taken at sea aboard cruise ship Azamara Pursuit shows what this will look like in a dark sky. The Moon is literally upside down for Northern Hemisphere observers as this was taken at 47 degrees South latitude.

Waning Crescent Earthshine Moon
Greg Redfern
Try and take advantage of this planetary lineup this week. Visualize our solar system with its visible planets and our Moon. The planets are orbiting the Sun as are we while our Moon orbits the Earth.

Enjoy the view!

Sky Guy in VA

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