MARS COMPLETES IT’S MARCH

by William J. Bechaver

For the past couple of weeks, we have watched Mars meander past the other planets in the morning sky.

This week, his trek is complete as he closely encounters Saturn in the early morning sky.

On the morning of Tuesday 31 March, Mars will be less than a degree below Saturn when they rise in the east.

By four o’clock in the morning, both Saturn and Mars will have risen, if you have a clear, eastern horizon. More distant and slightly dimmer Saturn will be above nearer and redder Mars.

Saturn with its amazing and expansive ring system is much larger than is Mars. But being more than six times more distant, the two planets appear about the same brightness from Earth, with lower Mars having a distinctly reddish hue.

The two will continue to climb higher into the clearer sky as the morning progresses, and remain visible long after the Sun begins to lighten the sky, before rising nearly three hours later.

Up to the right of the pair is brighter Jupiter, prominently dominating the morning sky. Just last week, Mars began its speedy descent by sliding past Jupiter. Now, it’s morning motion continuing, it will outpace Saturn as well.

Mars travels faster in its shorter orbit around the Sun, being closer to the Sun than the two gas giants. Now, as it appears from Earth, Mars has passed them.

In reality, we on Earth are gaining on all three, being closer to the Sun, on a shorter and faster path than all of them. Mars is higher in the sky every week, as we on Earth gain on it.

Mars began March far higher in the sky than the distant two. And as it passes into April, it has surpassed them, being lower and rising later than lagging Jupiter and lumbering Saturn.

This week, the move is complete, as Mars has won the race, and will only fall behind when Earth finally passes it in mid October!

This week, in the evening sky, the crescent Moon will join Venus. Friday evening, the Moon will be below the brilliant jewel high in the evening sky. The following evening, it will be above Venus.

As Venus reached its highest position in the evening sky last week, it will be lower, and therefore set earlier, every evening as we move into April.

There is plenty of planet watching to be had this week, as Mars outpaces the larger outer planets in the morning, and Venus begins to gain on us in the evening, giving us amazing views to welcome April, and the impending spring!

Thanks for all the positive feedback about our featured columns, and your continued interest in astronomy. If you have any questions or article requests, contact us at spacescape@rocketmail.com, or follow us on Twitter @ColoSpacEScapE for updates and additional viewing opportunities.

Astronomical Times And Distances of naked-eye objects for this weekend.

Sun Set = 7:18 p.m.
6 minutes later than last week
92.81 million miles from Earth
184,879 miles further than last week
Venus Set = 11:14 p.m.
9 minutes later than last week
62.91 million miles from Earth
5,017,206 miles nearer than last week
Moon Set = 11:29 p.m.
7 hours 39 minutes later than last week
248,365 miles from Earth
3,425 miles nearer than last week
Jupiter Rise = 3:20 a.m.
24 minutes earlier than last week
498.19 million miles from Earth
9,954,637 miles nearer than last week
Mars Rise = 3:42 a.m.
9 minutes earlier than last week
137.60 million miles from Earth
5,236,869 miles nearer than last week
Saturn Rise = 3:43 a.m.
26 minutes earlier than last week
961.44 million miles from Earth
9,887,430 miles nearer than last week
Mercury Rise = 5:51 a.m.
4 minute earlier than last week
91.52 million miles from Earth
9,420,029 miles further than last week
Sun Rise = 6:48 a.m.
10 minutes earlier than last week
92.82 million miles from Earth
184,433 miles further than last week
12,558 miles further than last night

First Quarter Moon occurs on Wednesday, April 1st, at 4:21 a.m.

Note: Times are local Mountain Time. Actual sundown is about ten minutes earlier than calculated sunset. Along the front range, differing times vary depending on your distance from the mountains.
________________
• · William J. Bechaver is the director of SPACE • Spanish Peaks Amateur Cosmos Enthusiasts, the premier Astronomical Society for Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

– –

The planets and their relative positions in the solar system for this weekend.–

Planet sizes and distances are obviously not to scale.

MARAUDING MARS

by William J. Bechaver

This week, Mars continues to make it’s amazing move in the early morning sky.

The progress of Mars is most noteworthy as it encounters Jupiter this week.

As you recall, Mars has been above Jupiter and Saturn since the three planets entered the morning sky early this year.

This month, Mars has really begun to gain on the two larger, more distant planets, and from our point of view, will pass the two this month, entering April lower than the others.

This week, on the morning of Friday 20 March, Mars will pass less than a degree from Jupiter in the early morning hours. To spot the pairing, go out after four o’clock, when the pair will be rising low on the eastern horizon. They will be at their closest upon rising, with Mars lying less than a degree below Jupiter.

The beautiful pairing will continue to climb throughout the predawn morning hours, until the Sun rises three hours later.

Less than seven degrees to the east is Saturn, and in the mornings to come, Mars will pass from Jupiter to Saturn, the three planets spanning a very small part of the morning sky.

Later in the month, Mars will pass Saturn, and be below the two, rising later than they, by month’s end.

There is also a special viewing opportunity to be noted on the morning of Monday 23 March. On that morning, Mars will pass less than a tenth of a degree from distant planetoid Pluto! Mars will be as easy to see as always, of course, but you will need a pretty powerful telescope to discern distant, tiny, and faint Pluto as the two pass extremely closely in the morning sky.

So, this week offers a chance to see Mars as it passes the more distant, sluggish planets in their orbits, passing close to bright Jupiter, and even closer to generally invisible Pluto. All this, while it is quickly gaining on more distant, less brilliant, Saturn, changing the order of things in the morning sky.

Also of note, on the morning of Tuesday 24 March, faint and tiny Mercury will be at its highest position in the morning sky. While that evening, Venus will be at its highest in the west. The two planets will appear closest together that day, at opposite ends of the sky, Mercury high in the east, and Venus high in the evening sky.

As Venus has reached prominence in the evening sky, it will now begin to slowly descend in the west, setting earlier every evening, and sooner after sunset, which is now later every evening.

Thanks for all the positive feedback about our featured columns, and your continued interest in astronomy. If you have any questions or article requests, contact us at spacescape@rocketmail.com, or follow us on Twitter @ColoSpacEScapE for updates and additional viewing opportunities.

Astronomical Times And Distances of naked-eye objects for this weekend.

Sun Set = 7:12 p.m.
7 minutes later than last week
92.62 million miles from Earth
184,861 miles further than last week
Venus Set = 11:05 p.m.
8 minutes later than last week
67.92 million miles from Earth
4,964,342 miles nearer than last week
Moon Rise = 4:33 a.m.
3 hours 17 minutes later than last week
251,790 miles from Earth
17,076 miles further than last week
Jupiter Rise = 3:44 a.m.
27 minutes earlier than last week
508.15 million miles from Earth
9,580,769 miles nearer than last week
Mars Rise = 3:51 a.m.
13 minutes earlier than last week
142.84 million miles from Earth
5,278,616 miles nearer than last week
Saturn Rise = 4:09 a.m.
28 minutes earlier than last week
971.33 million miles from Earth
9,319,749 miles nearer than last week
Mercury Rise = 5:55 a.m.
10 minute earlier than last week
82.10 million miles from Earth
9,513,645 miles further than last week
Sun Rise = 6:58 a.m.
11 minutes earlier than last week
92.63 million miles from Earth
184,758 miles further than last week
13,004 miles further than last night

New Moon occurs on Tuesday, March 24th, at 3:28 a.m.

Note: Times are local Mountain Time. Actual sundown is about ten minutes earlier than calculated sunset. Along the front range, differing times vary depending on your distance from the mountains.
________________
• · William J. Bechaver is the director of SPACE • Spanish Peaks Amateur Cosmos Enthusiasts, the premier Astronomical Society for Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

– –

The planets and their relative positions in the solar system for this weekend.–

Planet sizes and distances are obviously not to scale.

MARS MAKES ITS MOVE IN THE MORNING

by William J. Bechaver

At the beginning of March, Mars was twenty degrees above Saturn in the morning sky, and rising more than an hour before the ringed planet.

By the end of the month, during the next couple of weeks, Mars will have passed both Jupiter and Saturn, being lower than Saturn as the Sun rises.

From our point of view, Jupiter and Saturn are climbing higher in the morning sky, with Mars as well. But the more distant planets seem to climb faster, as Mars is passing them in its shorter, faster orbit around the Sun.

This week, Mars really begins to make its move. In the early morning sky, about an hour before sunrise, the three planets form a nearly horizontal line across the south-eastern sky. Saturn is furthest east, with brightest Jupiter in the middle, and Mars furthest west.

All three are moving higher, but Mars and Jupiter lose less than Saturn, gaining on the more distant ringed planet.

This week, Mars will overtake Jupiter. On the morning of Wednesday 18 March, the Moon will join the tight grouping of planets for a spectacular sight.

The crescent Moon will be less than one degree from Mars when they rise Wednesday morning, just after four o’clock, about three hours before sunrise. Just to the left of Mars is brilliant Jupiter, less than two degrees away. Further to the east is bright but distant Saturn.

Two mornings later, Mars will have it’s closest encounter with Jupiter, being less than a degree below the gas giant. The Moon will have left the scene by then, being far to the east.

Later in the month, Mars will pass Saturn, and be below the two, rising later than they, by month’s end.

But this week, the closest grouping of the Moon with the morning planets, brilliant Jupiter and red Mars, highlights the pre-dawn sky on Wednesday morning. More spectacular encounters with Mars will be highlighted in the weeks to come.

Thanks for all the positive feedback about our featured columns, and your continued interest in astronomy. If you have any questions or article requests, contact us at spacescape@rocketmail.com, or follow us on Twitter @ColoSpacEScapE for updates and additional viewing opportunities.

Astronomical Times And Distances of naked-eye objects for this weekend.

Sun Set = 7:05 p.m.
1 hour 7 minutes later than last week
92.44 million miles from Earth
175,686 miles further than last week
Venus Set = 10:57 p.m.
1 hour 12 minutes later than last week
72.89 million miles from Earth
4,893,993 miles nearer than last week
Moon Rise = 1:16 a.m.
9 hours 36 minutes later than last week
234,714 miles from Earth
11,035 miles further than last week
Mars Rise = 4:04 a.m.
9 minutes earlier than last week
148.12 million miles from Earth
5,307,544 miles nearer than last week
Jupiter Rise = 4:11 a.m.
24 minutes earlier than last week
517.73 million miles from Earth
9,115,525 miles nearer than last week
Saturn Rise = 4:37 a.m.
26 minutes earlier than last week
980.65 million miles from Earth
8,642,659 miles nearer than last week
Mercury Rise = 6:05 a.m.
17 minute earlier than last week
72.59 million miles from Earth
8,597,910 miles further than last week
Sun Rise = 7:09 a.m.
11 minutes earlier than last week
92.45 million miles from Earth
176,430 miles further than last week
13,106 miles further than last night

Third Quarter Moon occurs on Monday, March 16th, at 3:34 a.m.

Note: Evening set times differ by an hour this week, due to Daylight Savings Time last weekend. Times are local Mountain Time. Actual sundown is about ten minutes earlier than calculated sunset. Along the front range, differing times vary depending on your distance from the mountains.
________________
• · William J. Bechaver is the director of SPACE • Spanish Peaks Amateur Cosmos Enthusiasts, the premier Astronomical Society for Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

– –

The planets and their relative positions in the solar system for this weekend.–

Planet sizes and distances are obviously not to scale.

BEGINNING OF MARS WATCH….

by William J. Bechaver

Keep an eye on Mars this week in the morning sky, as it begins to gain on Jupiter and Saturn, and will indeed pass them by the end of the month.

Daylight Savings Time begins this weekend on Sunday morning.

Thanks for all the positive feedback about our featured columns, and your continued interest in astronomy. If you have any questions or article requests, contact us at spacescape@rocketmail.com, or follow us on Twitter @ColoSpacEScapE for updates and additional viewing opportunities.

Astronomical Times And Distances of naked-eye objects for this weekend.

Daylight Savings Time begins this weekend on Sunday morning. Turn your clock forward one hour, or you’ll be late.

Sun Set = 5:59 p.m.
7 minute later than last week
92.26 million miles from Earth
160,767 miles further than last week
Venus Set = 9:43 p.m.
11 minutes later than last week
77.78 million miles from Earth
4,804,244 miles nearer than last week
Mars Rise = 4:09 a.m.
52 minutes later than last week
153.42 million miles from Earth
5,328,728 miles nearer than last week
Jupiter Rise = 4:31 a.m.
37 minutes later than last week
526.85 million miles from Earth
8,570,897 miles nearer than last week
Saturn Rise = 5:00 a.m.
35 minutes later than last week
989.29 million miles from Earth
7,868,987 miles nearer than last week
Mercury Rise = 6:21 a.m.
29 minute later than last week
63.99 million miles from Earth
5,186,376 miles further than last week
Moon Set = 6:58 a.m.
6 hours 22 minutes later than last week
223,679 miles from Earth
24,966 miles nearer than last week
Sun Rise = 7:19 a.m.
50 minutes later than last week
92.27 million miles from Earth
161,501 miles further than last week
12,363 miles further than last night

Full Worm Moon occurs on Monday, March 9th, at 11:48 a.m.

Note: Morning rise times differ by an hour this week, due to Daylight Savings Time this weekend. Times are local Mountain Time. Actual sundown is about ten minutes earlier than calculated sunset. Along the front range, differing times vary depending on your distance from the mountains.
________________
• · William J. Bechaver is the director of SPACE • Spanish Peaks Amateur Cosmos Enthusiasts, the premier Astronomical Society for Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

– –

The planets and their relative positions in the solar system for this weekend.–

Planet sizes and distances are obviously not to scale.

VENUS GLEAMS IN THE EVENING SKY

by William J. Bechaver

Though the Moon doesn’t get extremely close to Venus this month, no closer than six degrees, the two have been forming a beautiful pair in the evening sky this week.

Primarily because Venus is so high in the sky, and remains high long after sunset, when the sky has completely darkened, it is a prominent and noteworthy apparition with the Moon this week.

The two are closest together tonight, as the crescent Moon climbs up to meet it. With such dark skies, look to see the dark side of the Moon as well.

The crescent of the Moon is lit by light from the Sun, of course. But the dark side will be slightly illuminated by a phenomena known as Earth Shine. The light reflected from Earth actually can be seen reflecting off the dark portion of the Moon, dimly illuminating the entire lunar disk. As moonlight from a full Moon illuminates our nights here on Earth, so does the full Earth shed light on the night side of the Moon.

When the Moon swings around again next month, Venus will be near its highest point in the evening sky, but the Moon will not get as near to it as it does this month.

The Moon makes its closest approach to Venus tonight, Thursday 27 February. Go out just after sunset and you can spot Venus and the Moon forming a beautiful pair in the evening sky. Look again tomorrow to see how far the Moon moves in a single day, and look closely to catch the Earth’s light shining on the dark side of the Moon.

Thanks for all the positive feedback about our featured columns, and your continued interest in astronomy. If you have any questions or article requests, contact us at spacescape@rocketmail.com, or follow us on Twitter @ColoSpacEScapE for updates and additional viewing opportunities.

Astronomical Times And Distances of naked-eye objects for this weekend.

Sun Set = 5:52 p.m.
7 minute later than last week
92.10 million miles from Earth
149,993 miles further than last week
Venus Set = 9:32 p.m.
13 minutes later than last week
82.59 million miles from Earth
4,694,286 miles nearer than last week
Moon Set = 11:37 p.m.
6 hours 39 minutes later than last week
248,645 miles from Earth
1,565 miles nearer than last week
Mars Rise = 3:17 a.m.
7 minutes earlier than last week
158.75 million miles from Earth
5,317,081 miles nearer than last week
Jupiter Rise = 3:54 a.m.
23 minutes earlier than last week
535.42 million miles from Earth
7,946,699 miles nearer than last week
Saturn Rise = 4:25 a.m.
25 minutes earlier than last week
997.16 million miles from Earth
7,000,130 miles nearer than last week
Mercury Rise = 5:52 a.m.
45 minute earlier than last week
58.81 million miles from Earth
2,933,573 miles nearer than last week
Sun Rise = 6:29 a.m.
10 minutes earlier than last week
92.11 million miles from Earth
150,421 miles further than last week
11,628 miles further than last night

First Quarter Moon occurs on Monday, March 2nd, at 12:57 p.m.

Note: Times are local Mountain Time. Actual sundown is about ten minutes earlier than calculated sunset. Along the front range, differing times vary depending on your distance from the mountains.
________________
• · William J. Bechaver is the director of SPACE • Spanish Peaks Amateur Cosmos Enthusiasts, the premier Astronomical Society for Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

– –

The planets and their relative positions in the solar system for this weekend.–

Planet sizes and distances are obviously not to scale.

WHERE ARE OUR INTREPID VOYAGERS

by William J. Bechaver

Way back in August and September of 1977, NASA launched the two Voyager spacecraft.

Within just over three years, Voyager 1 had encountered Jupiter and Saturn and their many satellites, moons, and ring systems. Then, it headed out of the solar system, taking an upward trajectory away from the plane of the solar system, heading away, off into space.

Voyager 2 continued on for nine more years, encountering Uranus, and then Neptune, before continuing off into deep space.

It took the two many more years before they actually left the solar system.

Voyager 1 didn’t leave the heliosphere until September 2012.

The heliosphere is the area of space under the gravitational and magnetic influence of the Sun.

Voyager hadn’t entered interstellar space until it had successfully crossed that barrier. It was the first man-made object to do so, to leave the solar system.

Voyager 2 successfully crossed the barrier into interstellar space in 2018.

Both spacecraft have continued to operate, sending back signals to NASA. Both are currently in their forty-third year of operation.

With dismay, NASA lost contact with Voyager 2 at the end of last month. With analysis, they determined that it had gone into some form of standby mode.

Amazingly, they have announced that Voyager 2 is now back on line and operating once again.

It has now been speculated that Voyager 2 may have put itself into a protection mode, to conserve the limited amount of energy that remains. Two of Voyagers instruments may have been operating at the same time, triggering a programed shutdown.

The programming analyzed the energy output, and determined it was too great a drain on the vehicles remaining power. So Voyager performed a controlled shutdown to conserve energy, and preserve its life. A final analysis of the problem has not yet been released by NASA.

But last week, NASA did announce that the cause of the problem had been determined, and corrected, and that the vehicle had been successfully rebooted and reactivated.

So, NASA managed to reactivate the most distant object by radio signal, and at Voyager 2’s immense distance, that is no easy feat.

Voyager 1 is the most distant object made by man. Currently at a distance of more than 13.82 billion miles from Earth, it is currently more than four times more distant than Pluto right now.

With the current distance of Voyager 2, it takes radio signals more than 17 hours to reach the vehicle. Radio signals travel at the speed of light, but to communicate with the Voyager spacecraft, it takes 17 hours for the light signal from Earth to reach them, and then takes 17 hours for the reply signal to return to Earth, a minimum of 35 hours to know if a signal sent to Voyager is successful.

And currently, Voyager 2 is traveling at nearly 34,400 miles per hour, or a speed 13 times faster than the muzzle velocity of a rifle bullet on Earth.

So, with a vehicle the size of a small car, using a signal about as strong as a small lightbulb, sending it over such a vast distance with a vehicle racing through space at such tremendous speeds, NASA was still able to analyze the problem, and turn Voyager 2 on again.

A return signal has been successfully received, indicating that the spacecraft is operating at its normal deep-space capacity.

So, with both vehicles successfully back on line, they continue to communicate with us, periodically sending us information about interstellar space.

With their current power supply thus conserved, it is estimated that they can continue to operate until sometime in 2025, when their power will at last be depleted, and they will shut down, growing silent forever.

Don’t forget to check out Venus and the Moon in the west in our evening sky later in the week, for they will provide beautiful views indeed.

Thanks for all the positive feedback about our featured columns, and your continued interest in astronomy. If you have any questions or article requests, contact us at spacescape@rocketmail.com, or follow us on Twitter @ColoSpacEScapE for updates and additional viewing opportunities.

Astronomical Times And Distances of naked-eye objects for this weekend.

Sun Set = 5:45 p.m.
8 minute later than last week
91.95 million miles from Earth
140,298 miles further than last week
Mercury Set = 6:18 p.m.
40 minute earlier than last week
61.74 million miles from Earth
12,687,789 miles nearer than last week
Venus Set = 9:19 p.m.
12 minutes later than last week
87.28 million miles from Earth
4,576,660 miles nearer than last week
Mars Rise = 3:24 a.m.
6 minutes earlier than last week
164.09 million miles from Earth
5,317,081 miles nearer than last week
Jupiter Rise = 4:17 a.m.
22 minutes earlier than last week
543.36 million miles from Earth
7,244,789 miles nearer than last week
Saturn Rise = 4:50 a.m.
25 minutes earlier than last week
1.00 billion miles from Earth or
1,004.16 million miles from Earth
6,042,034 miles nearer than last week
Sun Rise = 6:39 a.m.
8 minutes earlier than last week
91.96 million miles from Earth
140,976 miles further than last week
11,201 miles further than last night

New Moon occurs on Sunday, February 23rd, at 8:32 a.m.

Note: Times are local Mountain Time. Actual sundown is about ten minutes earlier than calculated sunset. Along the front range, differing times vary depending on your distance from the mountains.
________________
• · William J. Bechaver is the director of SPACE • Spanish Peaks Amateur Cosmos Enthusiasts, the premier Astronomical Society for Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

– –

The planets and their relative positions in the solar system for this weekend.

Planet sizes and distances are obviously not to scale.

THE MOON HIDES MARS

by William J. Bechaver

This week, the Moon will find all the visible outer planets in the morning sky. But what’s more impressive, for a time, it will hide one of them.

During the early morning hours of Tuesday 18 February, the Moon will actually pass in front of the planet Mars, and everyone in the western United States is perfectly located to witness this amazing planetary event.

Just after three-thirty in the morning, the Moon will rise, followed only six minutes later by the planet Mars, just below and to the left of the Moon.

The planet is distant so will be dim, just below the bright limb of the crescent Moon, so it may be useful to use a pair of binoculars to better view the red planet next to the brightness of the Moon.

As the two rise higher into the sky, the Moon will slowly move over lower Mars, and the planet will pass behind the edge of the Moon.

Watch for the Moon to cover Mars about an hour after they rise, at 04:40 local Mountain Time. It will take about fifteen seconds for the entire disk of Mars to be covered behind the edge of the Moon.

Mars will remain concealed behind the Moon for about an hour and twenty minutes, until it will emerge from the darkened side of the Moon, at 06:00, about forty-five minutes before sunrise.

In Colorado, the sky will begin to lighten slightly before the event is over, at six o’clock, so with the lightening sky, it will be prudent to also use binoculars to watch the emergence.

The following morning, Wednesday 19 February, the Moon will be very near Jupiter. The crescent Moon will rise just after 04:20, with Jupiter rising about ten minutes later, to its lower left. The Moon will get closer to the gas giant as they rise higher, and are finally lost to the glare of the morning sky two hours later, before sunrise.

The Moon will actually pass in front of Jupiter that day, also. But you would have to be in Antarctica or on the southern tip of South America to witness that event. There is no place on Earth to witness both events.

And the following morning, Thursday 20 February, the Moon will rise just after 05:10, about ten minutes after Saturn, which though dim, will appear above and to the left of the ever thinning crescent Moon. You will have about an hour and a half to view the rising pair before the Sun rises. See how long you can discern the ringed planet next to the fine Moon, as the gap between the two closes before dawn.

So, this week, the Moon will actually point the way to all of the planets visible in the morning sky, and on Tuesday, it will actually hide one for a time. All three pairings will be spectacular, with Tuesday’s rare event being the most memorable and noteworthy.

Thanks for all the positive feedback about our featured columns, and your continued interest in astronomy. If you have any questions or article requests, contact us at spacescape@rocketmail.com, or follow us on Twitter @ColoSpacEScapE for updates and additional viewing opportunities.

Astronomical Times And Distances of naked-eye objects for this weekend.

Sun Set = 5:37 p.m.
7 minute later than last week
91.81 million miles from Earth
123,259 miles further than last week
Mercury Set = 6:58 p.m.
1 minute earlier than last week
74.43 million miles from Earth
17,848,230 miles nearer than last week
Venus Set = 9:07 p.m.
13 minutes later than last week
91.86 million miles from Earth
4,458,365 miles nearer than last week
Moon Rise = 1:17 a.m.
8 hours 19 minutes later than last week
235,589 miles from Earth
10,756 miles further than last week
Mars Rise = 3:30 a.m.
6 minutes earlier than last week
169.40 million miles from Earth
5,278,895 miles nearer than last week
Jupiter Rise = 4:39 a.m.
22 minutes earlier than last week
550.61 million miles from Earth
6,477,253 miles nearer than last week
Saturn Rise = 5:15 a.m.
25 minutes earlier than last week
1.01 billion miles from Earth or
1,010.21 million miles from Earth
5,012,734 miles nearer than last week
Sun Rise = 6:47 a.m.
8 minutes earlier than last week
91.82 million miles from Earth
124,821 miles further than last week
10,522 miles further than last night

Third Quarter Moon occurs on Saturday, February 15th, at 3:17 p.m.

Note: Times are local Mountain Time. Actual sundown is about ten minutes earlier than calculated sunset. Along the front range, differing times vary depending on your distance from the mountains.
________________
• · William J. Bechaver is the director of SPACE • Spanish Peaks Amateur Cosmos Enthusiasts, the premier Astronomical Society for Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

– –

The planets and their relative positions in the solar system for this weekend.–

–Planet sizes and distances are obviously not to scale.