Hopefully, a few of you might have taken benefit of unusually clear late winter skies at nightfall to catch a glimpse of Mercury presently at its finest. My former article illustrates how the steeply inclined angle of the ecliptic to the western horizon at sundown drastically improves your probabilities of viewing the innermost planet from the UK and Western Europe at current.
Sadly, nonetheless, the identical can’t be mentioned of planets of the daybreak sky for skywatchers residing in northern temperate latitudes the place the converse is presently true: the morning ecliptic has a really shallow inclination to the east in vivid twilight, so any planets near the Solar appear to hug the southeastern horizon.
So, should you want to catch a glimpse of the outdated waning crescent Moon nestled between conspicuous Venus and considerably extra subdued Saturn within the rising twilight of Saturday, 2 March you want to select your viewing location and time rigorously. Attempt too early then the sky will probably be darker, however the Moon and planets will probably be too near the southeast horizon. Depart it too late then the Moon and planets will probably be increased, however in a brighter sky and Saturn is probably not seen to the unaided eye.
The optimum time to search for the photo voltaic system trio is near civil daybreak, which is presently 36 minutes earlier than dawn within the coronary heart of the British Isles on 2 March. You should definitely seek the advice of our interactive on-line Almanac to seek out out when civil twilight begins at your location by deciding on the closest metropolis to you. (Click on right here should you’d prefer to learn our former information to utilizing the Almanac.)
In the event you do handle to catch a glimpse of Venus, the 25-day-old Moon and Saturn on Saturday morning, ponder the truth that magnitude -4.1 Venus lies 161 million kilometres from Earth, some 4 hundred occasions farther away than the slim lunar crescent in nearly the identical line of sight. Magnitude +0.6 Saturn is seventy-five occasions fainter than its dazzling planetary sibling, however at 1,588 million kilometres distant it’s practically ten occasions farther away from us than Venus.