Planet elongation charts
The chart below shows the positions of the planets relative to the Sun during 2019.
This type of chart is called an elongation chart. It shows the positions of the naked-eye planets to the east (left) or west (right) of the Sun. The vertical axis represents the days and months of the year. The diagonal bands represent constellation boundaries. The wavy yellow band is a region close to the Sun in which it would be difficult to observe the planets. This chart behaves like a game of PacMan; any planets reaching opposition 180 degrees west of the Sun wrap straight over to the evening sky on the far left. Think of this as being like an unwrapped cylinder!
The places where the paths of the planets intersect represent conjunctions. These are visually striking opportunities to see bright planets shining together in the sky. In 2019 there are at least 5 such opportunities.
I've based the design on the charts I saw in a book called "The Amateur Astronomer" by Antonín Rükl. I got this book in the 1980s and I loved it! Rükl's elongation charts only covered the period 1980 - 2000 so I learned how to generate my own through a combination of LaTeX and Excel.
I've generated elongation charts with details of planetary conjunctions for the period 2019 - 2050. You download a single PDF with all these charts by clicking here.