Friday, December 26, 2014

Venus and more!

Hi all,
Hope you are all enjoying the clear night skies we have been having. There is so much to see right now: winter stars, planets, and a bonus comet.

Moon, Mars and Venus at dusk, Dec. 23-25, 2014

Venus is back:

After spending most of the year in the morning sky, Venus is returning to our night sky. If you have a clear view down to the western horizon, you can spy Venus as soon as it gets dark, right near where the sun set. But you have to be quick because she  will set early, by 5:45 tonight. On your way home from Shul tonight will be a perfect time to look. Each coming evening  Venus will get a little higher and set a little later.


As you practice spotting Venus be on the lookout for Mercury. This elusive planet will pop up next week near Venus and the two will pair for a bright conjunction by Jan 11. There is a beautiful graphic showing the pair dance at

Binocular comet:

Comet Lovejoy 2014 is speeding through the southern sky below Orion. This will be a challenge to spot, but with dark skies and binoculars you could get lucky. It is currently at magnitude 5.5 and does not show a tail, even through a medium telescope. But you should be able to see a small fuzzball. See details here .

Now that the winter solstice has passed, we can all look forward to the bright constellations of winter. Enjoy!

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Open evening at the wise observatory

Hi Y'all,

Wise Observatory, Israel
The wise observatory near Mitzpe Ramon will be open to the public next Thursday. 
This is the one time a year you can get in to see and learn about the largest telescope in the country.

The program includes:

Between 17:30 and 22:30:

  • Talks about current research topics in the observatory
  • Guided tours in the observatory and around the different telescopes.
  • Automated observations of various astronomical objects
  • Observations through small telescopes
  • Guided stargazing

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

See Mars next to the Moon tonight

Mars has recently come into opposition. That is not as bad as it sounds. It just means that Mars is now closest to Earth, as happens about every 2 years. So it means Mars now appears biggest and brightest in our sky. Even f you  are not good with a star map, Mars will be very easy to find tonight as it is right next to the Moon high in the sky. 

Keep looking up!

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Moon, Venus and Jupiter tonight!

Tonight will be the first chance to see the new moon of the month of  Shvat. You may be able to spot the Moon almost as soon as the sun sets at 16:36.

It is also one of the last nights to see Venus very low in the southwest before it disappears in its rendezvous with the Sun. As an added treat, if you turn around you can also spot Jupiter as it rises low in the northeast.

The sky tonight showing Venus and the Moon at upper left with Jupiter in the lower right.

To catch the full view, you will have to find high ground with an unobstructed view down to both the east and west horizon.   The best time will be between 17:15 and 17:30. The show will be over by the time Venus sets at 17:45 with the Moon following at 18:10. However if you are late, you can still enjoy Jupiter which will be up all night long.