December arrives and so does my yearly tradition of making a planetary elongation chart for the coming year!
A PDF version can be downloaded here.
As usual the lines show positions of the planets with respect to the Sun (the angle on the sky is called elongation). Intersections between lines correspond to conjunctions in longitude and are nice events to observe with naked eye.
For example: Jupiter and Mars are near each other in the morning sky during January 2018. A conjunction occurs on the morning of January 7th with both planets in the constellation Libra.
Stellarium shows the scene at 6.30am on January 7th towards the southeastern horizon nicely. The planets are joined by a last quarter moon.
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Dr Adrian Jannetta. Amateur astronomer, maths teacher and science enthusiast.