moon tree

Moonwise Calendars and Diaries



Moonwise home page Moonwise Calendar Moonwise Diaries online ordering
Moonwise on Facebook latest newsletter viewing the sky dates
site index & links live calendar page live diary page .

Wednesday 18 October 2017  •   28 Vine Moon 2017


Viewing the night sky in Vine Moon 2017

21 September - 19 October 2017

Map of night sky at full moon: 5 October, 18:40 UTC
Northern hemisphere perspective, aligned on the ecliptic. Morning sky to the left, evening to the right.

night sky map for Vine Moon 2017

On 19 Oct, Uranus is opposite the sun as seen from Earth, 2830 million kilometres or 157 light minutes away. Although this is its nearest this year, it’s only eight years since its aphelion (furthest from the sun), and Uranus has a relatively eccentric orbit. At its closest in 2051, Uranus will be just 144 light minutes away, and quite a bit easier to see with the naked eye. Give it a go, though, even this year, if you have a good, dark sky.

Venus is the bright morning planet, though less prominent than earlier in the year as it heads towards the far side of the sun. The less bright Mars is in the eastern morning sky with Venus, and the two come together in the dawn twilight during the first half of the month, until on 5 Oct, Venus passes just twelve minutes of arc north of Mars around 16:50 UTC, best seen from Tonga and Midway in the Pacific. From Europe, see them close on the mornings of 5 & 6 Oct. The moon passes close north of Mars on 17 Oct and of Venus on 18 Oct.

You may just be able to see Jupiter in the western evening sky at the beginning of the month, especially when the new moon is nearby on 22 Sep. The view is better from the southern hemisphere. The planet then slips into the sunset, as Earth’s movement takes it round the back of the sun.

Saturn, in the constellation Ophiuchus, can be seen much more easily in the evening sky, albeit fairly low in the SW as seen from the northern hemisphere. The moon is nearby on 26 Sep. Although the planet is much less bright than earlier in the year, because of its greater distance from Earth, it is notable that the greatest northerly tilt of its rings for 29 years relative to Earth is on 16 Oct. If you have a telescope, look to see what a great view of the rings we have at the moment.



The month ahead: Ivy Moon 2017

20 October - 18 November 2017

Map of night sky at full moon: 4 November, 05:23 UTC
Northern hemisphere perspective, aligned on the ecliptic. Morning sky to the left, evening to the right.

night sky map for Ivy Moon 2017

You should still be able to see Venus in the dawn twilight, as it moves towards the far side of the sun. Further out from the sunrise is the fainter Mars, climbing slowly out from the sunrise towards its bright encounter with Earth, when it’s opposite the sun next summer. Towards the end of the month, Jupiter emerges from behind the sun, though it’s hard to see in the growing light of day. On 13 Nov, Venus passes sixteen minutes of arc north of Jupiter. It is worth trying to see the two bright planets in the dawn sky, if you have a good, clear view to the southeast. As seen from Europe, they rise about an hour and twenty minutes before the sun. The moon is near Mars on 15 Nov and Venus and Jupiter on 17 Nov.

Saturn is low in the SW evening sky, especially as seen from the northern hemisphere. The moon is nearby on 24 Oct. By the end of the month, especially again in the north, it has all but disappeared into the twilight.

Look out for the Orionid meteors on the night of 20/21 Oct, and the Leonid meteors around 16 & 17 November, especially after midnight, and before dawn. In both cases, the moon will be largely out of the way, making for good, dark skies away from city lights. Lie back and look for the streaks of light.



William Morris
Send feedback