October 26th, 2015
Venus is the planet in the news this morning as it reaches its furthest point from the Sun in the pre-dawn sky (technically known as Greatest Western Elongation) and simultaneously forms a very close conjunction with Jupiter.
This is actually quite a sight as Venus is the third brightest object in the sky (after the Sun and Moon) while Jupiter is the fourth. It’s a pity Mars couldn’t be closer and that the Moon is so far away, but Venus and Mars will be very close on November 3rd and the Moon returns to the group about three days later.
If you have a telescope, take a moment to point it towards Venus. Even with low magnification, you should be able to see the planet in a “half Moon” phase. This is called dichotomy – in other words, half the planet is illuminated by sunlight while the other half is still in darkness. This always happens around the time of greatest elongation.
All Astronomical Events for October 26th, 2015
07:12 UT – Venus is at Greatest Western Elongation. (51% illuminated, magnitude -4.4, diameter 24.0”. Naked eye, Leo, pre-dawn sky. See details above.)
08:16 UT – Venus appears 1.1° south of Jupiter. (Venus: 51% illuminated, magnitude -4.4, diameter 24.0”. Jupiter: magnitude -1.8, diameter 32.6”. Naked eye, Leo, pre-dawn sky. See details above.)
09:32 UT – The almost full Moon passes Uranus. (Uranus: magnitude 5.7, diameter 3.7”. Pisces, evening sky.)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.
All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.
Astronomical events taken from 2015: An Astronomical Year, available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom. Night sky simulations created using Mobile Observatory for Android devices.
2015: An Astronomical Year
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