In the Sky This Week – August 15, 2017

5:30 AM Aug 15, 2017 East

Eastern morning sky - 5:30 AM Aug 15, 2017. Venus' orbit is shown in red. Credit: Stellarium / Bob Trembley.

Venus is a bit lower and Orion a bit higher in the eastern morning sky. Venus orbits closer to the Sun than Earth, and is racing ahead-of and away-from the Earth; the planet will vanish from view in mid-November as the Sun comes between it and the Earth.

Position of the Moon Aug. 15-19, 2017

Position of the Moon Aug. 15-19, 2017. Credit: Stellarium / Bob Trembley.

The waning crescent Moon appears thinner and closer to the horizon each morning in the eastern sky. Note: I used Stellarium's new "Astronomical calculations" feature to generate the ephemeris for this image - I expect you'll be seeing more of this.

1:50 AM Aug. 16, 2017 Conjunction

Conjunction of the Moon and Aldebaran - 1:50 AM Aug. 16, 2017. Credit: Stellarium / Bob Trembley.

The Moon be in conjunction with the star Aldebaran on the Aug. 16th, appearing VERY close to each other, VERY early in the morning.

Aldebaran Compared to the Sun

Orange giant star Aldebaran compared to the Sun. Credit: Universe Sandbox ² / Bob Trembley

Aldebaran is a orange giant star about 44 times the size of the Sun, located about 65 light years away. Aldebaran is positioned close to the ecliptic plane, and is frequently occulted by the Moon... just not this month.

10 PM Aug. 15, 2017 Southwest

Southwestern sky after sunset - Aug. 15, 2017. Credit: Stellarium / Bob Trembley.

Jupiter is visible only for a short time after sunset very low in the western sky - atmospheric turbulence made it a poor observing target for me last weekend. Saturn is high in the southern sky, and is a great observing target; last weekend, I saw five of Saturn's moons in the Warren Astronomical Society's huge Dobsonian telescope!

Overhead - Aug. 15, 2017 10 PM

The Sky Overhead - Aug. 15, 2017 10 PM. Credit: Stellarium / Bob Trembley.

The Solar System - Aug 15, 2017

The Solar System - Aug 15, 2017. Credit: NASA Eyes on the Solar System / Bob Trembley.

Apps used for this post:

Stellarium: a free open source planetarium app for PC/MAC/Linux.
Universe Sandbox ²: a physics-based 3D space simulator.
NASA Eyes on the Solar System: an immersive 3D solar system and space mission app - free for the PC /MAC.

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