BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Jupiter and Saturn will highlight the evening sky during November. The best time to begin viewing them will be as soon as the sky darkens.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Saturn will be a fine sight each evening in October, especially for observers with telescopes. The planet will be easy to spot 30 degrees high in the southern sky during the first few hours of darkness, and it won't set until 3 a.m. early in the month and 1 a.m. at month's end. Titan, Saturn's largest moon, will be north of the planet on the mornings of Oct. 8 and 24 and south on Oct. 16. Titan will be a good target for small telescopes.
Jupiter will be the brightest object in the night sky after the moon during September. The giant planet will rise around 8:30 p.m. local time on Sept. 1 and by sunset at month's end. The best time to view Jupiter will be when it is highest above the southern horizon, in the few hours on either side of midnight. Any telescope will show magnificent features in its turbulent and dynamic atmosphere
The annual Perseid meteor shower is one of the most popular because it happens on warm summer nights, when gazing at the starry sky is always enjoyable. This year the Perseids will peak on the night of Aug. 12-13. Unfortunately the moon will be full just one day before that, so moonlight will strongly interfere with observing meteors. Even in a clear dark sky only the brightest meteors will be visible.
The shorter nights of summer will still offer a variety of events for skywatchers, with all five major planets on display.
The five planets visible with the naked eye will be on display from east to south along the horizon at dawn on June 4. They will appear in the same sequence in the sky as in their orbits around the sun. From left to right, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will form an arc spanning 91 degrees. It's been about 100 years since a similarly compact group of planets marched across our sky, and there won't be such a gathering again until 2041.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A total eclipse of the moon lasting 85 minutes will be the highlight of May for skywatchers. In the Midwest, the full moon will rise on the evening of May 15-16 with the eclipse already beginning. Observers on the East Coast will see the entire eclipse in a dark sky. On the West Coast, the total eclipse will begin in evening twilight and continue in a dark sky.
Four bright planets will be strung out in a row above the east-southeastern horizon 45 minutes before sunrise on April 18. Evenly spaced from left to right will be Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Saturn in a line nearly 32 degrees long.
As the new year begins, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, and Venus will form a straight line 40 degrees long in the southwestern sky a half hour after sunset. In a single view you'll be able to see four of the five bright naked-eye planets! Jupiter will be highest, about 20 degrees above yellow Saturn. Venus will be lowest, near the horizon.
Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter will be on display in the evening sky soon after sunset at the start of December.