Wandering through the realms of the cosmos, pondering its huge vastness

Posts tagged “moon and predawn planets

Skywatching Highlights: May 2011


The month of May will show up the finest planetary conjunctions of the year. Naked-eye planets line-up in the eastern horizon before sunrise. On May 1, 9, 13, and 30 at 5:00 AM, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus and Neptune will be found lining-up above the eastern horizon as shown in Figures 2, 3, 4, and 5  respectively. Uranus and Neptune will be needing a star map and a binocular or a modest-sized telescope for its proper viewing. The planets will lie among the background stars of the constellation Pisces, the Fish, except for Neptune, which will be found at the constellation of Aquarius, the Water-Bearer.

Saturn will be visible in the evening sky throughout the month. The Ringed planet will be located among the background stars of the constellation Virgo, the Virgin.

Date Event Time (PHT)
1 Mars Jupiter at minimum separation dawn
1-2 Mars-Jupiter-Mercury-Venus-Moon conjunction dawn
2 Jupiter 6° south of the Moon 03:00 AM
3 New Moon 04:50 PM
5 The 3% thin crescent Moon will lie in between the star groups Hyades and Pleiades in the constellation Taurus in the west. dusk
7 Jupiter Conjunction  
7 Mercury at greatest western elongation dawn
7 Eta Aquarids : Active from Apr 19 to May 28 —  ZHR 70  
8 Venus Mercury at minimum separation dawn
10-14 Mercury-Venus-Jupiter conjunction dawn
11 First Quarter Moon 04:35 AM
11 Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter Conjunction – The three planets will form a 2-degree long vertical line in the early morning sky. The planet Mars will also be visible nearby. Look to the east near sunrise. dawn
11 Mercury Jupiter at minimum separation dawn
12 Venus Jupiter at minimum separation dawn
14 Saturn 8° north of the Moon 11:00 PM
17 Full Moon (called Full Flower Moon) 07:10 PM
18-26 Mercury Venus Mars conjunction dawn
18 Mercury Venus at minimum separation dawn
22 Jupiter 8° below the Moon dawn
25 Last Quarter Moon 02:50PM
30 Mars-Jupiter-Mercury-Venus-Moon conjunction dawn
31 Mars 4° South of the Moon dawn

Clear skies! 🙂



  • PAGASA Astronomical Diary
  • Philippine Celestial Events for 2011 by PAS
  • 2011 Astronomy Calendar – SeaSky.org

Luna and the Planets in the Dawn Sky

I stayed up until dawn today (May 1, 2011) to watch the beautiful celestial grouping of the thin crescent Moon (5% illuminated) and the morning planets (Venus, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter). Luckily, the eastern sky was not cloudy when I went outside at 4:40 AM. But only the Moon which looked like a yellow crescent and Venus were only visible. The other planets were too dim and too low to be seen over our suburban place.

I saw these two objects rising behind the roof of our neighbors house. At 5:00 AM, the Moon and Venus were roughly 15 degrees above the horizon and were separated apart by 6 degrees.

All pictures were taken using my Kodak C813 Digital Camera.

Clear skies! 🙂

Venus-Moon Conjunction – March 1, 2011

Last March 1, the 12% illuminated Moon was about 2 degrees close to the bright planet Venus in the eastern sky during predawn hours.

Due to thick clouds over our place at the time of this celestial conjunction, I did not have the chance to catch a glimpse of  it.

Fortunately, one of my orgmates in U.P. AstroSoc — Anthony Urbano of Eteny Works — was able to observe and take a picture  of these two objects amongst partly cloudy skies.

Venus-Moon Conjunction | March 1, 2011 | Manila, Philippines | credit: Anthony Urbano

I really like this image because of its nice purplish color.

Thank you, Kuya Ets for letting me repost your photo. 😀

Clear skies to all!

Moon and Predawn Planets on Dec. 30 – 31

The final mornings of 2010 (during Dec. 30 and 31) will feature the waning crescent moon with the planets Mercury, Venus and Saturn in the eastern sky before sunrise.

4:00 AM PST (UT+8) of Dec. 30, 2010 - Moon, Venus (mag.-4.39) and Saturn (mag. 1.21) | Manila, Philippines | Click image to enlarge.

Depending on where you live worldwide, Venus and the moon will rise above the eastern horizon some 3 to 4 hours before sunrise, to light up the wee morning hours until daybreak. For Philippine observers, the screenshot from Stellarium above shows that the Moon – Venus separation is ~20 degrees on December 30, 2010. During this time, the moon will also be ~20 degrees below Saturn. The bright stars Spica in Virgo and Arcturus in Bootes could also be found within this celestial grouping.

5:30 AM PST (UT+8) of Dec. 31, 2010 - Moon, Venus (mag. -4.39 ) and Mercury (mag. 0.39) | Manila, Philippines

Venus is very bright and easy to find. If you look at Venus with a telescope before dawn, you’ll see this planet shining as a wide waxing crescent.

By December 31, the moon and Venus will shine nearly side by side with only 10 degrees of angular separation. Also on this date, Mercury which was in evening dusk during early December will now be in the predawn sky, closer to the horizon. In the screenshot above, it was ~8 degrees above the horizon and ~25 degrees away from Venus. December 2010 provides you with the unique opportunity to catch Mercury in both the evening and morning sky in a single month. Using binoculars will help you see this tiny planet.

Clear skies to all! 🙂



Note: The general rule amateur astronomers use is that the width of your fist from top to bottom held at arm’s length equals about 10 degrees. Read more about this here.



reference: EarthSky.org