01Jul2007

Sky Talk July 2007: Spectacular Conjunction of Venus & Saturn

After drawing ever-closer to each other in the evening sky over the past couple of months, the radiant planet Venus and the ringed planet Saturn finally meet in a stunning conjunction as July opens. Their cosmic embrace offers a visual feast for observers not to be missed — whether using the unaided eye, binoculars or …

01Jun2007

Sky Talk June 2007: Greatest Elongations of Mercury & Venus

Greatest elongations of the two inner planets Mercury and Venus are the points in their orbits where they appear at their maximum angular separations from the Sun — either to the east of it when in the evening sky or to the west of it in the morning sky. June offers a superb opportunity to …

01May2007

Sky Talk May 2007: Lunar/Planetary Conjunctions & Earthshine

Conjunctions are close approaches in the sky of the brighter planets, both with one another and also with the Moon. May offers an opportunity to see our lovely satellite successively brush by Mercury, Venus and Saturn in its perpetual orbital motion eastward across the heavens. And as a bonus, in the case of the first …

01Apr2007

Sky Talk April 2007: The Big Dipper Asterism

An asterism is a distinctive pattern of stars lying within a constellation — or, in some cases, one made up of stars from two or more adjoining constellations. Undoubtedly the best-known and most easily recognized of all such grouping is the Big Dipper in the constellation of Ursa Major. Contrary to popular belief, the Big …

01Mar2007

Sky Talk March 2007: Total Eclipse of the Moon

Skywatchers haven’t had an opportunity to see a total lunar eclipse for more than two years now, the last one having occurred in October of 2004. This year there are actually two of them, the first of which takes place on March 3rd. (The second one will happen on August 28th). A unique opportunity to …

01Feb2007

Sky Talk February 2007: Watching the Moon Play “Tag” with the Pleiades Star Cluster

A spectacular encounter of the Moon with the bright naked-eye Pleiades Star Cluster (more popularly known as the “Seven Sisters”) is not to be missed this month. Depending on your exact geographical location, this will be seen as either a covering-and-then-uncovering of the cluster’s stellar diamonds – or as an exciting “near miss” – by …

01Jan2007

Sky Talk January 2007: The Quadrantid Meteor Shower

One of the richest yet least-known annual displays of “shooting stars” starts off the new year. But this time around, it will be sharing the sky with a brilliant source of natural “light pollution” – the Full Moon! Despite its interference, this display will still be worth watching. Among the meteor showers to grace our …