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Posts Tagged 'spring'

Infographic: Astronomy Highlights in Spring 2023

March 1 2023, Marcus Schenk

Spring is a great time to take a look at the stars: it’s getting warmer, and the weather in Central Europe is better. And, as always, there are plenty of interesting celestial events to see: a minor planet at opposition, the only time the planet Mercury is visible in the evening, and some beautiful conjunctions between planets and the Moon. In this infographic you’ll learn about the top astronomical events in the night sky during the spring of 2023. There’s no better reason to get outdoors again with your binoculars or telescope.

Events in March

01/03 Conjunction between Venus and Jupiter

On 1 March, you can observe a very special astronomical event: at dusk, Venus and Jupiter draw closer to one another, until they are around a half a degree apart. This is approximately the same distance as the diameter of a full Moon. The encounter is a rare opportunity to marvel at these two bright celestial bodies in the evening sky.

10/3 Ceres near M91 

Today Ceres intersects the bright spiral galaxy known as M91, thereby offering us the rare opportunity to admire both the minor planet and the galaxy simultaneously with our telescope. Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The planet has a diameter of around 950km which is about the length of Spain. Ceres was considered to be a planet following its discovery in around 1801, and it was only later re-defined as a minor planet. Ceres thus faced a very similar fate in its classification as Pluto did in 2006.

A closer inspection by the Dawn Spacecraft discovered many craters, most of which are only small. Water vapour was even discovered there in 2015, and further research suggested that there may be liquid water under the surface. So, we can say with certainty: it’s a very interesting celestial body! Use your telescope to enjoy the rare sight of Ceres and M91 together!

14/03 Conjunction between the Moon and Antares 

Today is a good day for early risers: the Moon nears Antares, the brightest star in the constellation of Scorpio, at a distance of just 1.5 degrees. You can only observe and enjoy the meeting of these two in the morning hours. So, maybe on your way to work?

21/03 Ceres at opposition

Have you ever observed a minor planet? Ceres, which was discovered in 1801, is the largest object in the asteroid belt. It’s at opposition now, and its brightness reaches a magnitude of 7. You can locate it with small telescopes and, theoretically, even with binoculars. Have fun!

24/03 Conjunction between the Moon and Venus

The delicate sickle Moon rises above the western horizon, serving as the perfect complement to gleaming Venus. With a brightness of magnitude 4, Venus is a wonderful sight at dusk and will entice you outside to look at the stars tonight. Less than 3 degrees separate these two celestial bodies, which guarantees a particularly beautiful sight. It’s always an impressive natural wonder when the Moon meets Venus, especially if you’re planning to capture it with your camera.

25/03 Conjunction between Ceres and M100

Make a note of date: the minor planet Ceres crosses another deep sky object! Its path takes it past the breath-taking galaxy M100 in the constellation of Coma Berenices. Using a finderscope, you can locate it above Denebola, the star that marks the tail of the constellation of Leo.

28/03 Conjunction between the Moon and Mars

Tonight, the Moon and the planet Mars can be found very close together. Observing these two celestial bodies framed by the stars of the Winter Hexagon is a truly impressive sight.

Events in April

03/04 Mercury in the evening sky 

Mercury is a nimble planet as its orbit is located close the Sun. This usually makes it difficult to observe, because it only rarely escapes the brightness of our central star. The only evening visibility this year occurs in April: Mercury reveals itself a few degrees above the western horizon between 3 and 15 April.

10/04 Conjunction between the Moon and Antares 

Tonight, the Moon is in the constellation of Scorpio and nears the bright supergiant star Antares. This occasion takes place in the morning hours. But a further event awaits us: the occultation of the magnitude 3 star by our Moon. At 04:52, the bright side of our satellite moves towards the star and occults it for around an hour. We will not be able to see the star’s reappearance on the other side of the Moon, as, by this time, it will already be daylight.

16/04 Conjunction between the Moon and Saturn 

Keep an eye out if you’re an early riser: this morning we are greeted by the waning crescent Moon and the planet Saturn above the eastern horizon. You’ll need to choose a place with a good view of the horizon to observe this.

22/04 Conjunction between the Moon and Venus

Tonight, we can observe a really special spectacle: a conjunction between the Moon and Venus. The Moon is just 2.5 days old, so we only see a slender sickle form. Venus, on the other hand, shines brightly at more than magnitude 4, so it appears especially bright in the evening sky.

22/04 The Lyrids

On 22 April, at its maximum, the Lyrid meteor shower produces up to 20 meteors per hour.  The meteors can be observed undisturbed by moonlight during the best observation time which is between 22:00 and 04:00 next morning. Their point of origin, also known as the radiant, is located in the constellation of Lyra.

25/04 Conjunction between the Moon and Mars

Today, the Moon and Mars can be seen in the constellation of Gemini. This is a rare sight not to be missed.

Events in May

13/05 Conjunction between the Moon and Saturn

This morning the Moon nears the planet Saturn. Such a lovely sight is certain to get us motivated for the day ahead.

23/05 Conjunction between the Moon and Venus 

Venus – almost as bright as a spotlight in the night sky – together with the slender crescent Moon. This is exactly what you will see if you look up at the sky this evening. What’s more: a little higher you’ll find Mars too. When compared to its two colleagues, it seems to be really dimly lit.

24/05 Conjunction between the Moon and Mars 

Whereas the Moon visited Venus yesterday, today it is calling on the planet Mars.

26/05 Conjunction between the Moon and Regulus 

If you have been observing the Moon in recent days, you will have noticed how quickly it moves against the background of stars. Today it meets Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo. The name Regulus comes from Latin and means ‘little king’.

31/05 Conjunction between the Moon and Spica

Today, the Moon meets the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo: Spica. We owe this coincidence to the path of the ecliptic, which repeatedly leads the Moon into the vicinity of this star. The best observation time starts in the late twilight, because Virgo will disappear below the horizon in the second half of the night.

Astronomy Highlights Spring 2022

March 1 2022, Marcus Schenk

Close conjunctions between planets, a bright Venus and a total lunar eclipse: In this quarter, the heavens are offering up some delicious morsels which are worth viewing. What’s happening with Mercury, for example? The small, nimble planet will soon reach its best evening visibility.

In the “Astronomy Highlights in Spring 2022” infographic, you can find at a glance numerous important celestial events. You can find dates and detailed descriptions of the events in the accompanying text.

Have fun observing!


08/03 Conjunction between the Moon and the Pleiades

This evening, the six-day-old Moon approaches the Pleiades open star cluster.

12/03 Conjunction between Venus and Mars

Shortly before sunrise, Venus and Mars can be seen over the south-eastern horizon. Venus is almost half-illuminated and shining with a magnitude of magnitude -4.5

20/03 Venus at greatest western elongation

Venus is at its greatest western elongation today. It, therefore, reaches its greatest angular distance from the Sun and can maintain an acceptable altitude above the horizon. It is now 50% illuminated.

23/03 Conjunction between Saturn and Mars

Just above the horizon, we can look forward to an attractive celestial display. Venus, Mars and Saturn are waiting for us in a planetary triangle. A good opportunity to compare their various magnitudes.

28/03 Conjunction between the Moon, Venus, Saturn and Mars

On 23 March, we are able to marvel at three planets. Today the slender crescent moon is keeping the trio company. Grab your camera and capture this beautiful event for ever.


05/04 Conjunction between Mars and Saturn

A rare event? Yes, because this morning Mars is passing by the ringed planet at a distance of only 20 arc seconds. A good opportunity to view both planets through binoculars or a telescope, or for a photo of both celestial bodies.

05/04 Moon in Davis’ Dog

An asterism is a random collection of stars which we perceive in pretty patterns. Today the Moon brushes past “Davis’ Dog”, a pattern of stars which resembles a dog or a fox. When viewed through binoculars, the sight is very delightful. In some places, the Moon occults bright stars.

17/04 Conjunction between Mercury and Uranus

This evening sees Mercury passing Uranus at a distance of only two degrees. This means you can locate both planets within the visual field of a pair of binoculars. A high vantage point is desirable since the planets are only 4 degrees above the horizon at 9pm.

24/04 Mercury in the evening sky

Mercury achieves its best evening visibility this year. Do you still want to see it? Then the time is now. At dusk, it can be found just above the western and north-western horizon. But only for the next 10 to 14 days, before it disappears.

27/04 Conjunction between Venus and Jupiter

Three days before the new Moon, its narrow crescent comes into conjunction with the planets Venus and Jupiter.

29/04 Conjunction between Mercury and the Pleiades

The winter constellation of Taurus goes down in the west. In the twilight, Mercury approaches the well-known Pleiades star cluster. You can marvel at both in the visual field of a pair of binoculars.


01/05 Conjunction between Venus and Jupiter

At a distance of barely 20 arc seconds, Venus “scrapes” past Jupiter. Such a close encounter is seldom seen. The only downside is that you have to drag yourself out of bed early as it can only be seen in the morning sky.

02/05 Conjunction between the Moon and Mercury

For those who prefer to observe in the evenings, you can catch a last glimpse of Mercury today. The spectacle takes place just above the western horizon but is especially attractive. A delicate waxing crescent moon to the left and, to the right, the Pleiades.

12/05 Venus, Jupiter, Mars in alignment

Shortly before dawn, we can see Venus, Jupiter and Mars sitting in a neat row. A little further up, we can also find Saturn. The band of planets stretches from the eastern horizon almost diagonally across the sky.

16/05 Total lunar eclipse

The last visible lunar eclipse took place in January 2019. Three years later, the event is repeating itself. However, visibility for the current eclipse is sadly not optimal. We cannot fully follow it, only the first part. The Moon enters the Earth’s umbral shadow at 04:28. At this time, our satellite is still 8 degrees above the horizon. Just at the start of the totality, the Moon goes down in the southwest. We won’t be able to see another total lunar eclipse until 2025 – and that will be in the evening.

28/05 Tau Herculids

The Tau Herculids are a meteor shower which we have not previously recommended in our Astronomy Highlights. Why? They are usually barely noticeable and not so exciting with a maximum of two meteors per hour. Only avid meteor fans get anything out of them. But this year could be different. This year, the Earth crosses paths with the trail of dust left by the disintegrating 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 comet in 1995. This year, it could be quite the shower. The International Meteor Organisation (IMO) is encouraging people to collect observational data.

29/05 Conjunction between Mars and Jupiter

At three in the morning, Mars and Jupiter climb above the horizon. It will be immediately apparent that we are dealing with a very close conjunction here. The two planets pass each other at a distance of around 0.5 degrees. When viewed through binoculars, they will appear as a stunning pair in the same visual field.