The Moon, Mercury, and Jupiter

Hey, everyone! If you have some time over the next two nights, have a look to the west in the early evenings, maybe 20 minutes or a half hour after sunset. The Moon’s back from the overnight shift. Actually, it came back last night, but it was just too low and too thin a crescent to be seen without a lot of trouble.

Tonight, August 4, to help celebrate the 31st anniversary of Tom Seaver winning his 300th game, the Moon will be sitting just a little bit to the lower left of the planet Mercury, the smaller-than-Ganymede one. When I say a little, I mean a little; it’ll be only about a degree and a half awayless than the width of a finger held out arm’s length. It’ll be a sliver, a fingernail. Just a slight curved glow standing out against the deepening oranges and pinks of another summer sunset.

If you come back around the same time tomorrow, Friday, August 5, the Moon will have moved its usual 13 degrees up and to the left across the dome. This time, it’ll be right alongside the planet Jupiter. It’ll be just another finger’s width away from the most giantest of giant planets. It’ll still be a thin crescent, but it’s getting bigger.

Mercury’s always pretty close to the Sun, both in real life and in our sky. It takes a surprising amount of skill to see even in the best of conditions.  In fact, I often use the Moon to find it, but not this time! Tonight, while the sky is bright and the Moon so thin, it’ll be even trickier to see.  So, you might need a little bit of help from some binoculars if you have a pair, but I don’t think you’ll need anything fancy; just a regular pair should do the trick.  By Friday, the whole thing will be higher up in the sky and farther from the Sun’s glare so it’ll be easier to see with just your eyes.

Here’s a drawing that night help. I included Venus, which is sitting very low in the sky, just in case you happen to be able to see it. I don’t want you to get worried.

The western sky, August 4 & August 5, 2016

After tomorrow night, the Moon’ll be on its way across to catch up with Mars and Saturn later this month.

I don’t know about you, but I really kind of miss the Moon during the times when it’s up late or tough to see. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the extra darkness those nights, but I’m always glad to see it when it comes back.

So, check it out. It should be gorgeous. Let me know how you do. Leave some comments. And, if you have anything else you want to talk about, don’t hesitate to ask.

Clear skies, everyone!


2 thoughts on “The Moon, Mercury, and Jupiter

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