Planet Notes for 2014:
Major Events (times listed
are local to central California):
Apr 15, 2014 - Total lunar eclipse
(date is now passed).
Oct 8, 2014 - Total lunar eclipse, penumbral phase (barely visible)
beginning 01:16am, totality from 03:23-04:24, ends at 06:32.
Oct 23, 2014 - Partial solar eclipse, visible begins 1:55pm, max
at 3:11pm, ends at 4:31pm.
Mercury: Best chances for viewing Mercury occur roughly
about a week before and after the following dates and times (AS=After
Sunset, PD=Pre-Dawn). Note that Mercury is always close to the
Sun, and whenever it is visible, it will be low to the eastern
or western horizon, just before sunrise (in the east), or just
after sunset (in the west), respectively. Use a pair of binoculars
to aid your attempts, and as always - DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN:
Jan 10/AS (close conjunction w/Venus)
Venus: Visible low in the west for the first
few days of January, but moves into the Sun by 1/5. Pops out in
the mornings before sunrise around 1/23 and rises higher, earlier
through to mid-June, but, of course, the days get longer, so it
gets lost to daylight earlier, as well. It will stay visible in
the pre-dawn hours all the way through mid-August, before diving
back into the Sun. It won't reappear until early January of 2015
after sunset in the west.
At the beginning of January, Mars becomes visible low in the east
around 2am (Virgo). By mid-April, it starts to become visible
in the early evening hours until it's lost to the Sun by late
September. It won't be visible again until the pre-dawn hours
of Jan 2016.
Starts the year high in the east in the early evening (Gemini)
and remains visible through mid-May before it's lost to the Sun
in the west. It will return again in the early evenings of February
Begins appearing in the easterly pre-dawn hours of January (Libra).
It eventually moves to early evening viewing times by early June,
before being lost to the Sun by early September.
Uranus: Starts the year high
in the southwest (Pisces) in the early evening but becomes fairly
unviewable by early February. Begins to be viewable again at 3am
in early July, and viewable in the early evening by early October.
Starts the year by getting too close to the Sun to view. Becomes
visible again at 3am in the east around early June (Aquarius),
and rises earlier passing into the early evening of October.
Moons for 2014: Jan 1 & 30, Feb (none), Mar 1 &
30, Apr 28, May 28, Jun 27, Jul 26, Aug 25, Sep 23, Oct 23, Nov
22, Dec 21.
showers for 2014 (green text is good)
|Morning of Max
||Radiant & Direction
Seven of this year's showers
(green text) are favorably absent
most or all of the Moon, and offer the best viewing opportunities.
Note that the best time to view meteor showers is usually between
2am and astronomical dawn. Also, the showers themselves occur
for days before and after their peaks, and can still be worth
The lunar phase calendar (above) was created
with a very cool program called Quick Phase, which generates all
kinds of info on the phases of the moon. If you're interested
in getting it yourself, click here.
*transit - to cross from the eastern
half of the sky to the western half, or vice-versa. When an object
transits in an east-to-west direction, it's at its highest elevation
above the horizon. This is the best time to view any object, because
the higher it is in the sky, the fewer layers of Earth's atmosphere
will interfere with, and distort, the image.
For more info about What's Up this
month, check out Sky
& Telescope's web page.
Lunar Conjunctions of 2014
(EE=Early Evening, PM=Past-Midnight, PD=Pre-Dawn)
(N=north, NNE=north-northeast, etc.)
(Date - Description, Approx View Time, Compass Direction)
Jan 14 - Near full Moon w/Jupiter,
Jan 23 - Waning crescent w/Mars and Spica PD, S
Jan 25 - Waning cresecent w/Saturn PD, SSE
Jan 28 - Waning thin crescent w/Venus PD, ESE
Feb 10 - Waxing gibbous w/Jupiter, EE, ESE
Feb 19 - Waning gibbous w/Mars and Spica, PM, SE
Feb 21 - Waning gibbous w/Saturn, PD, SE
Feb 25 - Waning crescent w/Venus, PD, ESE
Feb 27 - Waning crescent w/Mercury, PD, ESE
Mar 7 - Waxing crescent w/Aldeberran, EE, W
Mar 9 - Waxing gibbous w/Jupiter, EE, W
Mar 18 - Waning gibbous w/Mars and Spica, EE, ESE
Mar 21 - Waning gibbous w/Saturn, PM, SE
Mar 27 - Waning crescent w/Venus, PD, ESE
(More to come!).
Interesting Misc Conjunctions of 2014
Aug 18 - Venus and Jupiter
(More to come!).
Sky Clock for Chabot Space & Science Center This
handy utility predicts what the skies are likely to be like within
the next two days. It may take a minute to figure out, but after
that, it's quite simple, and very useful.
Direct link for the weekend
viewing prospects at Chabot Observatory (usually posted
around 6pm on Friday and Saturday evening).