Mars on the shores of the Lagoon

On the morning of the 18th February, Mars will be about 3/4 degree above the Lagoon Nebula, M8, and approximately 3/4 degree below the Trifid nebula, M20. See the picture below:

True astronomical dark ends at 5:24UT that morning so you will have to be up early and have a clear horizon. You may have to juggle the ever brightening sky with altitude as Sunrise is at 7:15UT.

Clear skies.

Venus and Mercury in the evening sky

Over the first half of February both Venus and Mercury are well place in the evening sky. Venus is the brighter and higher of the two as you can see in the graphic below:

This shows the view from Abingdon at around sunset or just after.

Mercury will be at its furthest distance from the Sun (from our perspective here on Earth) on February 10th when it will get 15 degrees above the horizon.

Clear skies.

Three lunar occultations coming up

In the pre dawn morning of August 24th three bright stars in the constellation of Taurus will be occulted by the Moon.

The first is delta 1 Tau which will disappear behind the bright limb of the Moon at 3:42 BST. The graphic below shows the moment just before the star disappears (pointed to by the red arrow).

Before delta 1 Tau emerges from the dark lunar limb at 4:50 BST, Delta 2 Tau will disappear behind the Moons bright south eastern limb at 4:23 BST. It will reappear from the dark limb at 5:08 BST, but before then Delta 1 Tau (also called Hyadum II) will have emerged from behind the Moon’s dark limb.

And not long after that, Delta 3 Tau will be occulted by the Moon’s bright limb at 5:21BST.

Clear skies.