Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The sky show tonight

Waning gibbous moon as it might appear [with a telescope] tonight around 10 pm

Sunset today is at 4:52 pm, and civil twilight ends at 5:22 pm. [At the end of civil twilight it is dark enough to see the brightest astronomical objects.]

What planets will be visible tonight?

Venus sets tonight at 8:49pm . It should be visible as a bright star in the western part of the sky after 6 pm, and will be setting at the western horizon around 8:30 pm.

Saturn rises at 9:28 pm. If you're still awake, you should be able to see it above the eastern horizon by 10 pm or a few minutes earlier. The gibbous moon [ 83% illuminated] will be rising at about the same time tonight, and so its light might obscure the planet somewhat.

And that's it for planet watching tonight -- if the sky is clear, that is. Otherwise, enjoy the snow or the rain or whatever else the night has in store for you.