Astronomical SIGHTS in a SKY NEAR YOU!

Graphics c/o Starry Night Education

This page updated Nov 15, 2019.

See also the HOME page or COMING EVENTS .

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

The Planets for Fall 2019:

Venus by late September is technically an Evening Star along with Mercury but neither get too high above the western horizon for viewing in dark skies. Go-to scopes should be able to locate either planet for you but be careful with looking in the sunward direction! Note that Mercury transits the Sun on Nov 11. See below and WEBLOG for details. Jupiter continues in our evening skies and is well placed for early evening viewing above the SW horizon until well into October.

Mars is too close to the Sun to see and reaches superior conjunction (behind the Sun) at the start of September. It will be a month or so before it can again be seen in the evening sky.

Saturn is also available in our evening sky and it and Jupiter are the main attractions for viewing this fall. Look to the left of the Milky Way in Sagittarius for Saturn and to the right of Sag, above Scorpius, for Jupiter -it is the brightest object in the evening sky except for Venus late in October.

As for the other gas giants, both Uranus and Neptune have returned to evening skies this fall but they are still visible only with optical aid and a star chart. Watch Neptune do a close pass of phi-Aquarii on Sep 6 -less than a minute of arc away when the pair set in the west. Uranus reaches opposition Oct 28 (see below), 7 weeks after Neptune’s opposition Sep 10.

Dwarf planet, Pluto is in Sagittarius near Saturn. Even then, it can be seen only in moonless sky and with larger telescopes. 2019 Finder charts for all planets, dwarf planets and asteroids are found on our CHARTS/FORMS page.

Autumn Sky Sights

Nov 11, 2019 Mercury crosses the Sun from 7:36 am to 1:04 pm EDT

NOTE: the entire event requires proper solar filters on your telescopes and cameras. Mercury is too small to be seen with the unaided eye. A pair of filtered 15x70 binoculars will show a small dot but a telescope with solar filter at medium power is recommended. Here is an article that explains how to safely watch and photograph the transit: S&T Mercury Transit Guide

And here is an article by Dr. Ralph Chou that deals specifically with safe solar filters:
Safe Filters

This transit of the Sun by Mercury occurs on the morning of Monday, Nov 11, Remembrance Day. The tiny disk of Mercury (only 10 arc-seconds across) starts its pass across the Sun at 7:36 am EST locally and continues for 5 hours 28 minutes until 1:04 pm EST when it finally leaves the Sun’s face.

Mercury is tiny compared to Venus which was 6 times larger in 2012, but the transits of Mercury are more frequent. They occurred in 2003, 2006 and 2016 so far this century and we have 9 more to come. But make sure you observe this one in 2019 since the next does not happen until 2032 and that one will be over before sunrise in North America!

Join BAS members at the Fox Observatory (6:30 am weather-permitting) for live views through our various telescopes.
More on WEBLOG


Nov 21/22: Possible Meteor STORM from Monoceros!

This just in! Sky and Telescope reports that there may be a meteor storm of 400 meteors/hour for less than an hour or so on Nov 21/22. For our location, the key times are from about 11 pm EST Thursday, Nov 21 to 1 am or so Friday morning, Nov 22. A low eastern horizon is recommended as the radiant, near alpha-Monocerotis, is very low for Owen Sound, only 3 degrees at 11 pm and 22 degrees at 1 am Nov 22. The Sky&Telescope map below shows the area of the sky from which the radiant will appear. Photography is especially encouraged and images from two different locations can be used to determine the altitudes of individual meteors by triangulation. Good luck!


More from Sky&Telescope can be found here: Alpha Monocerotid Meteors

Nov 28/29: Crescent Moon near Jupiter then Saturn
On Thursday, Nov 28, a crescent Moon only 2.5 days old appears 1° 38 min from Venus and a bit father (6°) fromJupiter. Diagram shows the view at 5:40 pm EST looking to the SW with Jupiter about 4° high and Venus about 6° up. On the next night. Saturn and Venus pair up with a separation of only 1° 45 min.

Moon Ven Jup Sat Nov28-29

This will be a good opportunity to see the third and fourth brightest planets, Venus, at magnitude -3.9 and Jupiter at magnitude -1.8, next to the second brightest object in the sky, the Moon at magnitude -10! Both nights will be good opportunities to catch these objects in a camera -try a long telephotos lens.

Dec 28: Crescent Moon near Venus
On Saturday, Dec 28, the second and third brightest objects in our sky appear close to each other above the western horizon after sunset. The Sun sets at 4:50 pm EST (Owen Sound) and even in bright twilight, you should be able to pick out Venus shining at magnitude -3.99, and the 2.6-day-old crescent Moon. Venus sits 2° 30 min above the Moon tonight and the two form a nice photogenic grouping. You may also be able to spot Saturn much lower on the horizon -only 2° up at 5:40 pm EST and shining more feebly than Venus, only magnitude 0.6. [Don’t bother trying to see Pluto -too faint and too close to Sun.

Venus Crescent Dec 28

A summary of the entire 2019 year of ASTRONOMY events can be found here:
An astronomical calendar for 2018 (with diagrams of sky sights like those above) will be available soon for download from Alan Dyer's website here: (look at the bottom of the "about Alan" page). Or here: Amazing Sky Calendar 2019

Meteor shower calendar for 2019 from is available here:
EarthSky Meteor Calendar 2019