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The Sharpless Catalog


Planets In The Sky

Below is a table and information about the planets and where they are in the sky. It includes rise and set times, distances, magnitude, position in the sky, and more. This information updates every hour. You can change the date for the information, however, the text description is for the current month.  

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Planet Infomation on Monday, December 13, 2010 for TUCSON 

MERCURY  Mercury breaks into the morning sky during the second half of August but is still lost in the glare of dawn. In September it will become clear that Mercury will be making its best morning appearance in 2010. It should be easy to spot by September 13 as it reaches a magnitude of 1.0. However, when the planet reaches greatest elongation on the 19th, Mercury will have brighten quite a bit. Mercury should be visible until the end of September
 
Constellation Sagittarius    RA Position 18 hr 23 min
Distance from Sun 29,398,649 Miles    Dec Position -23° 32'
Distance from Earth 69,224,169 Miles    Magnitude 1
Light Travel Time 0 hr 6 min    Rise Time 8:18 AM
Phase 17%    Transit Time 1:20 PM
Angular Size 9.05 sec of arc    Set Time 6:16 PM
VENUS  Venus can be easily spotted in the evening sky this month as it blazes away at a magnitude of -4.8 as it reaches greatest brightness on the 23rd. Venus is growing in size and the phase becomes smaller. Seen though a telescope our sister planet is at a 41 percent phase.
 
Constellation Libra    RA Position 14 hr 23 min
Distance from Sun 66,852,759 Miles    Dec Position -11° 27'
Distance from Earth 44,142,813 Miles    Magnitude -6
Light Travel Time 0 hr 3 min    Rise Time 3:45 AM
Phase 33%    Transit Time 9:21 AM
Angular Size 35.65 sec of arc    Set Time 2:51 PM
MARS  Mars is very small and dim at a magnitude of only 1.5 moves from Virgo into Libra.

 

Constellation Sagittarius    RA Position 18 hr 16 min
Distance from Sun 133,123,253 Miles    Dec Position -24° 16'
Distance from Earth 220,467,360 Miles    Magnitude 1
Light Travel Time 0 hr 19 min    Rise Time 8:14 AM
Phase 99%    Transit Time 1:13 PM
Angular Size 3.95 sec of arc    Set Time 6:07 PM
JUPITER  Jupiter rises a few hours after sunset but reaches opposition in September and is visible all night long In addition; Jupiter will be at its perihelion point of its orbit and be closest to the sun. So this opposition the planet will be larger and bringer than normal. Any size telescope can make out the 4 moons and some of the surface features. With a larger telescope you start picking out the fine details on the surface.

 

Constellation Pices    RA Position 23 hr 41 min
Distance from Sun 460,628,040 Miles    Dec Position -3° 24'
Distance from Earth 445,707,644 Miles    Magnitude -3
Light Travel Time 0 hr 39 min    Rise Time 12:42 PM
Phase 99%    Transit Time 6:37 PM
Angular Size 41.05 sec of arc    Set Time 12:32 AM
SATURN  Saturn is still visible for about an hour after sunset so now is the time to get a last view before conjunction with the sun.
 
Constellation Virgo    RA Position 13 hr 0 min
Distance from Sun 891,800,825 Miles    Dec Position -3° 56'
Distance from Earth 926,237,038 Miles    Magnitude 1
Light Travel Time 1 hr 22 min    Rise Time 2:04 AM
Phase 100%    Transit Time 7:58 AM
Angular Size 16.63 sec of arc    Set Time 1:47 PM
URANUS  Uranus rises with Jupiter as the two are quite close together in September. In the constellation of Aquarius you will need a star chart to look for the distant world. Jupiter will help you find the planet.
 
Constellation Pices    RA Position 23 hr 49 min
Distance from Sun 1,869,380,418 Miles    Dec Position -1° 56'
Distance from Earth 1,856,473,726 Miles    Magnitude 6
Light Travel Time 2 hr 46 min    Rise Time 12:46 PM
Phase 100%    Transit Time 6:45 PM
Angular Size 3.30 sec of arc    Set Time 12:43 AM
NEPTUNE  Neptune visible as soon as it gets dark requires a chart to help find the distant world. Large telescopes can make out the planetary disk but don’t expect to see any detail.
 
Constellation Capricornus    RA Position 21 hr 54 min
Distance from Sun 2,796,048,181 Miles    Dec Position -13° 12'
Distance from Earth 2,833,781,298 Miles    Magnitude 8
Light Travel Time 4 hr 13 min    Rise Time 11:20 AM
Phase 100%    Transit Time 4:50 PM
Angular Size 2.04 sec of arc    Set Time 10:16 PM
PLUTO  The best time to hunt for the small world is as soon as it gets dark when it is highest in the sky. You will need a large telescope and a good sky chart just to see the tiny dwarf planet. If you have a DSLR camera or a CCD, you can capture the planet in only a few seconds. By repeating this the next few nights, you can create an animation that shows Pluto drifting against the background stars.
 
Constellation Sagittarius    RA Position 18 hr 16 min
Distance from Sun 3,063,118,059 Miles    Dec Position -18° 31'
Distance from Earth 3,098,336,362 Miles    Magnitude 14
Light Travel Time 4 hr 37 min    Rise Time 7:56 AM
Phase 100%    Transit Time 1:12 PM
Angular Size 0.25 sec of arc    Set Time 6:24 PM