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Astronomy what to see and experience in the sky for 2014

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If you like super moons 2014 will have three of them, along with two lunar eclipses, and a partial solar eclipse. There are also black moons and mini moons. The Moon, Saturn, and Mars will be grouped together several times making for great photographic opportunities. That said, there are usually a couple of surprises like a visible nova, new comet, or heaven forbid an event like Chelyabinsk like last February. Here is what to expect for the Denver, CO metro area.

Sun

  • Partial Solar eclipse October 23. DO NOT OBSERVE WITH OUT PROPER FILTERS

Moon

  • Mini moon January 16 (Full moon farthest from Earth, opposite of a super moon)
  • Black moon January 30 (second new moon of the month)
  • No new moon (sometimes called a black moon) in February. February is shorter than the lunar cycle which allows for a missing phase. The next time this will happen is in 2033.
  • Black moon March 30 (second new moon of the month)
  • Lunar eclipse April 15
  • Super moon July 12 (1 of 3)
  • Moon closest to Earth for the year August 10, 356,896 km
  • Super moon Aug 10 and closest to Earth (2 of 3)
  • Super moon September 9 (3 of 3)
  • Lunar eclipse October 8

Planets

  • Mercury best observed in May in the early evening sky. If you have not observed Mercury, May 22 will be your best chance to see this elusive planet with your eyes. Look west 45 minutes after sunset.
  • Venus will be at her brightest in the February and March predawn sky
  • Mars will be at opposition April 8 meaning the Sun, Earth and Mars are in a straight line. Mars is closest to the Earth around opposition meaning Mars will appear brighter in the sky and bigger than normal in telescopes. Mars rises in the evening in March and will be visible the rest of the year.
  • Jupiter will dominate the early evening sky in the first half of the year. Jupiter will reappear in the predawn sky in August.
  • Saturn will rise during the evening hours in April and set in September. Saturn will reappear in predawn sky in November.

Planetary Conjunctions (Planets appearing close together or close to a star)

  • Venus and Jupiter predawn August 18 within one half the Moon’s diameter
  • Mars and Saturn early evening August 27
  • Venus and Regulus Sept 5, 5:45am to 5:55 am. Look east just above horizon, rising Sun a problem

Lunar Conjunctions (Moon near planet or star)

  • Moon, Mars and Spica predawn sky
  • Moon and Saturn January 25 predawn sky
  • Moon, Mars and Spica February 19 predawn sky
  • Moon and Saturn February 21 predawn sky
  • Moon and Venus February 25 predawn sky
  • Moon, Mars and Spica March 18 predawn sky
  • Moon and Saturn March 21 predawn sky
  • Moon and Mars April 14 early morning sky
  • Moon and Saturn April 17 predawn sky
  • Moon and Mars May 11 early morning sky
  • Moon and Saturn May 14 early morning sky
  • Moon and Saturn June 7 late evening sky
  • Moon and Spica June 8 late evening sky
  • Moon and Saturn June 10-11 late evening sky
  • Moon, Mars and Spica July 5 late evening sky
  • Moon and Saturn July 7 late evening sky
  • Moon, Saturn, Mars Aug 3-4 evening sky
  • Moon, Saturn, and Mars August 31 evening sky
  • Moon and Saturn September 28 early evening sky
  • Moon and Mercury October 22 predawn
  • Moon and Saturn October 25 after sunset

Wishing clear skies

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