Venus dominates the early evening sky this month. The brightest of planet of all dazzles at mag. -4.8 and remains a brilliant object above the western horizon just after sunset. Given the brilliance of Venus, you might be forgiven for thinking there was only one planet on show during early evening, but there isn't. Currently located in the same region of sky are Mars and Uranus. The difference in brightness between the three planets is striking. Venus is 275x brighter than Mars (mag. +1.3), with Mars 70x brighter than Uranus (mag. +5.9).

A close conjunction occurs on February 27th, when Mars passes less than a degree north of Uranus. The Red planet then acts as a perfect marker for locating the much more distant Uranus. Both objects will be visible in the same binocular field of view and when minimum separation occurs at 8 UT, they will by only 0.6 degrees apart.

The diagrams below show the planetary positions and a telescopic view of the conjunction.

Venus and Mars one hour after sunset on February 27th from New York City (credit:- stellarium/freestarcharts)

Small telescope view of Mars and Uranus on February 27th (credit:- stellarium/freestarcharts)

Venus, Mars and Uranus during February 2017 (credit:- freestarcharts)

Venus, Mars and Uranus during February 2017 - pdf format (credit:- freestarcharts)


Sky Highlights - September 2017

Opposition
Neptune reaches opposition on September 5th

The Planets
This Month's Guide

Algol Minima
Algol eclipse dates and times for September

Northern Hemisphere
Evening
West:- Jupiter (mag. -1.7)
Southwest:- Saturn (mag. +0.5)
East:- Neptune (mag. +7.8)
Midnight
South:- Neptune
East:- Uranus (mag. +5.7)
Morning
West:- Neptune
South:- Uranus
East:- Venus (mag. -3.9), Mars (mag. +1.8) (from second week), Mercury (mag. +0.5 to -1.3) (from second week)

Southern Hemisphere
Evening
West:- Jupiter
Northwest:- Saturn
East:- Neptune
Midnight
West:- Saturn
North:- Neptune
Northeast:- Uranus
Morning
West:- Neptune
Northwest:- Uranus
Northeast:- Venus
East:- Mars (end of month)

Deep Sky

Small telescopes:-
Messier 13 - M13 - Great Hercules Globular Cluster
Messier 92 - M92 - Globular Cluster
Messier 11 - M11 - The Wild Duck Cluster (Open Cluster)
Messier 7 - M7 - The Ptolemy Cluster (Open Cluster)
Messier 6 - M6 - The Butterfly Cluster (Open Cluster)
Messier 4 - M4 - Globular Cluster
Messier 8 - M8 - Lagoon Nebula (Emission Nebula)
Messier 16 - M16 - Eagle Nebula (Emission Nebula with Open Cluster)
Messier 20 - M20 - Trifid Nebula (Emission and Reflection Nebula)

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