Astronomical SIGHTS Coming to a SKY NEAR YOU!

Graphics c/o Starry Night Education

This page updated Sep 7 and includes events to end of October, 2017.

See the COMING EVENTS page for detailed information.

CURRENT COMETS page has more details and finder charts for visible comets.

Sky Sights: September- October 2017:

Jupiter is quickly disappearing into sunset glare in September and by October will be too close to the Sun for viewing.

Saturn is in the SW sky from sunset to midnight or so. It has been the showpiece for summer star parties but now is setting before midnight in the west. Catch a view while you can.
Venus has transferred over to the morning sky in the constellation Taurus and is located in a nice part of the sky which includes two other planets Mercury and Mars. See the Sky Sights below.

A summary of the entire 2017 year of ASTRONOMY events can be found here:

An astronomical calendar for 2017 (with diagrams of sky sights like those below) is available for download from Alan Dyer's website here: (look at the bottom of the "about Alan" page).

September - October 2017 Sky Sights

Sep 17/18: Sun/Mon: Moon near Venus, Mercury and Mars
No one should miss the morning view on Sep 17 and 18 when a nice crescent Moon appears near Venus, Regulus, Mars and Mercury before sunrise. The thin crescent Moon is just under 7 degrees from Venus and Venus is only 3 degrees from Regulus. (Remember that star was right beside the Sun on Aug 21. In a month, the Sun has advanced enough to the east that Regulus is visible before sunrise.) Below Regulus is the close pair Mars and Mercury only half a degree apart. Very nice! An even thinner crescent is between Regulus and the Mars/Mercury group the next night.

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 11.24.12 AM

Oct 17: Tue: Crescent Moon near Mars and Venus
Only the first of two events on Oct 17 is visible in our morning sky. At 20:21 Venus is much closer to the Moon but it takes the whole day for the Moon to closes in on Venus. The group sets below the horizon well before closest approach of Venus, so we do not see its close pass at 8 pm. In the morning, Venus is over 6° below Mars and Moon and all three are in Virgo. The graphic below shows the morning view when the 2-day-before-new Moon is 1.6° from Mars. Moon rises about 5:10 EDT followed 40 minutes later by Venus and the Sun about 2 hours later. Lots of dark sky to do some imaging! The bright star just below Mars is Zavijava (just love that name!)


Oct 19: Thu: Uranus at Opposition The second most distant planet in our current solar system reaches opposition tonight meaning that it rises at sunset and sets at sunrise. It is well placed all night long for viewing, so do go out and have a look. Magnitude is 5.68 and at higher power you can see a tiny disk at 3.7 seconds of arc across.

Oct 21: Sat: Orionid Meteor Shower
Though numbers are not high, 20 shooting stars should be visible per hour once Orion gets higher in the sky. The Moon is a tiny 3% illuminated so there is no moonlight to hide the fainter shower meteors. The radiant is in the feet of Gemini at Orion’s club and is well up in the East by midnight or so. As for all viewing nights this time of year, come dressed for cold and dewy nights. A nice reclining lawn chair is perfect for meteor watching and bring a damp-proof cover to stay warm under.


Oct 24: Tue: Saturn 3.3° South of Moon

This is a nice view with Saturn and a 5 day-old crescent Moon in the Milky Way between Scorpius and Sagittarius. Even with the brighter Moon, lots of Messier objects to see in the centre of our Milky Way.