If you are willing to get up at dawn on Jan.16, Monday morning and Tuesday too, you get to see the moon pay a visit to planet Saturn. Face the southern sky about half hour before sunrise and you can observe the quarter phase moon glide just underneath the ringed planet.
To the naked eye Saturn will look like a bright yellow-tinged star, but a small telescope can reveal its rings easily – even some of its larger moons, like Titan. Joining the moon and Saturn will be the brightest star in the constellation Virgo. Spica, despite being 263 light year away from Earth shines as one of the brightest stars in the sky and will complete a triangle pattern with Saturn and the Moon on Monday morning. Look for Spica between the moon and the planet, off to their right. How close will these cosmic players appear in the sky to each other?
On Monday morning the Moon will appear about 2 degrees away from Spica – which is equal to the width of your thumb at an outstretched arm, and the moon will also be 6 degrees from Saturn – a tad wider than your first 3 fingers at an outstretched arm. All in all a nice clustering of heavenly objects to wake up to!
Posted in Constellations, Planets, Solar System, Stargazing, The Moon, stars | 1 Comment »