Planets In The Sky

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Thursday, July 24, 2014
MERCURY  February will be the best time to view Mercury in 2014 during the evening hours. When the month starts, Mercury will already be high in the western sky after sunset. During the first week of the month the moon will pass by nearby making it easier to see the small world. After the first week, Mercury will start to drop quickly and be in conjunction with the sun mid month.
Constellation Gemini    RA Position 7 hr 3 min
Distance from Sun 29,563,627 Miles    Dec Position 22° 21'
Distance from Earth 105,043,460 Miles    Magnitude -1
Light Travel Time 0 hr 9 min    Rise Time 6:15 AM
Phase 74%    Transit Time 11:20 AM
Angular Size 5.97 sec of arc    Set Time 4:20 PM
VENUS  Venus blazes the morning sky before sunrise and reaches greatest brightness mid month. The planet will appear as a thin crescent phase and appears quite large. This will change over the next couple of months as we get more distant from our sister planet
Constellation Gemini    RA Position 6 hr 28 min
Distance from Sun 67,120,139 Miles    Dec Position 22° 49'
Distance from Earth 140,442,736 Miles    Magnitude -4
Light Travel Time 0 hr 12 min    Rise Time 5:41 AM
Phase 91%    Transit Time 10:44 AM
Angular Size 11.20 sec of arc    Set Time 3:43 PM
MARS  Mars will continue to get brighter as we get closer to the red planet. Sitting in the constellation of Virgo, a larger telescope will start to make out some surface features. The best time to view Mars will be shortly before sunrise when it is highest in the sky.


Constellation Virgo    RA Position 13 hr 46 min
Distance from Sun 139,312,302 Miles    Dec Position -11° 56'
Distance from Earth 105,539,130 Miles    Magnitude 0
Light Travel Time 0 hr 9 min    Rise Time 11:27 AM
Phase 87%    Transit Time 6:01 PM
Angular Size 8.25 sec of arc    Set Time 12:35 AM
JUPITER  Jupiter shines in the nighttime sky and is very high in the sky a few hours after sunset. Jupiter is in about the best location this viewing period of Jupiter for the northern hemisphere sitting in the constellation Gemini. This means during the long winter nights and the 9 hours and 50 minute rotation of the planet, you can see the entire planets surface features as it rotates. The four moons can be seen in any telescope.


Constellation Cancer    RA Position 8 hr 16 min
Distance from Sun 489,654,235 Miles    Dec Position 20° 10'
Distance from Earth 584,148,700 Miles    Magnitude -2
Light Travel Time 0 hr 52 min    Rise Time 7:20 AM
Phase 100%    Transit Time 12:32 PM
Angular Size 31.32 sec of arc    Set Time 5:38 PM
SATURN  Saturn rises a couple of hours before sunrise and sits in the constellation Libra. The ring system is at a 23 degree tilt so makes a great view in any size telescope. Saturn will be better place next month and the rest of 2014.
Constellation Libra    RA Position 14 hr 59 min
Distance from Sun 924,617,541 Miles    Dec Position -14° 37'
Distance from Earth 894,325,540 Miles    Magnitude 1
Light Travel Time 1 hr 19 min    Rise Time 12:32 PM
Phase 100%    Transit Time 7:14 PM
Angular Size 17.22 sec of arc    Set Time 1:54 AM
URANUS  Uranus is still visible in the evening sky but getting lower in the western sky after the sunset. The distant planet is easy to find with a good sky chart and can be seen in any size telescope. A larger telescope can make out the planets disk but even with a smaller telescope the observer can see the roundness of the planet. Uranus can be found in the constellation of Pisces.
Constellation Pices    RA Position 1 hr 2 min
Distance from Sun 1,863,916,652 Miles    Dec Position 5° 55'
Distance from Earth 1,839,404,126 Miles    Magnitude 6
Light Travel Time 2 hr 44 min    Rise Time 11:26 PM
Phase 100%    Transit Time 5:19 AM
Angular Size 3.33 sec of arc    Set Time 11:04 AM
NEPTUNE  Neptune is too close to the sun to view and is in conjunction mid month
Constellation Aquarius    RA Position 22 hr 36 min
Distance from Sun 2,792,667,219 Miles    Dec Position -9° 35'
Distance from Earth 2,715,199,564 Miles    Magnitude 8
Light Travel Time 4 hr 2 min    Rise Time 8:21 PM
Phase 100%    Transit Time 2:50 AM
Angular Size 2.13 sec of arc    Set Time 9:17 AM
PLUTO  The dwarf planet rises a couple of hours before sunrise. Pluto will be better placed later this year.
Constellation Sagittarius    RA Position 18 hr 46 min
Distance from Sun 3,143,136,177 Miles    Dec Position -20° 15'
Distance from Earth 2,994,040,790 Miles    Magnitude 14
Light Travel Time 4 hr 27 min    Rise Time 4:03 PM
Phase 100%    Transit Time 11:00 PM
Angular Size 0.25 sec of arc    Set Time 5:57 AM