Hey, Sky Fans! Happy Friday! Have you seen these photos of Jupiter coming back from NASA’s Juno probe? Spectacular, amazing. I’m speechless. I’ve been staring at them for the last half hour or so since I got home, and feel the way I felt when I saw those first photos of Saturn come back from Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 all those, sure, I’ll say it, all those decades ago. I’ll post a bit more about them over the weekend, but thanks to all that time spent staring, I’m almost out of time for this post. So, I need to squeeze it in.
After yesterday’s new moon (and annular eclipse), the Moon is back in the evening’s sky for the early shift. Look for it tonight low in the western sky right after sunset. Where I am, that’s at about 7:26pm Eastern. If you’re able, you’ll see a gorgeous barely-there waxing crescent, only a day old, right next to the giant planet Juno is orbiting. It’ll be really tough to see because it’s so low, so close to the horizon, so thin, and because the sky will still be on the bright side (I never said I was good at marketing). If you have a clear view of the horizon and a good sky, it’ll be a good naked-eye challenge. Maybe you’ll see it, maybe you won’t, but when the worst that can happen, assuming you don’t do your sky watching on busy highways, is you’ll strike up a conversation with a neighbor, it’s probably worth it.
For my sky watching dime, though, tomorrow night, September 3, will be a bit better. It’ll still be tough, you’re right, but a bit easier. By then, the Moon,will have moved past Venus and will be to its upper left just after sunset. The two of them, and Jupiter will make a beautiful line in low in the western sky. The Moon’s crescent will still be a very thin lash, and it’ll be terrific, and I can’t wait to give it a try.
By the by, if you’re a fan of Venus, and who isn’t, the coming months are for you! As the north moves toward fall, and the darkness comes earlier, it’ll become easier to see our sister planet in the early evening’s skies. In the coming months, the Moon will have a couple of close meetings with it, Saturn and Mars, too.
For now, here’s a quick sketch of the west’s skies tonight and at about 7:30 PM Eastern near my house. I hope you can get outside and have a look. If you’re also in the path of Tropical Storm Hermine, stay safe. Otherwise, clear skies, and have a great weekend, everyone!
(Edit: You’re not seeing things; at first, I managed to forget to put a title on this post. I have fixed that problem)