2012 Summer “Skylights”

venus_moon_crescentWith a partial solar and lunar eclipse, the possibility of a decent comet and/or meteor shower showing, as well as several impressive planet appearances, 2012 is a pretty fair year to take in what the solar system has to offer:

Throughout May: Venus blazes as a large, thin crescent in the West at dusk

June 4 -  Partial lunar eclipse for Western Canada at sunset

venus_transit_2012_nasaJune 5 - ***TRANSIT OF VENUS***: Venus crosses the face of the Sun from 5:30 ET to sunset for the last time for more than 100 years Full details here

July 15 - Solar System pileup!: Crescent Moon, Venus, and Jupiter in the Hyades star cluster (the “horns” of Taurus The Bull), just below the Pleiades (Seven Sisters or Seven Lost Boys) star cluster.

August 6 - NASA’s Curiosity super-rover arrives on Mars: A great opportunity to see Mars in the night sky under the constellation Leo (The Lion)

perseid_meteor_shower_2012August 12 - METEOR SHOWER!: The annual Perseids – the “Ol’ Faithful” of meteor showers – will take place under dark, moonless skies this year.

The later you can stay up to see the shower, the more you’ll be likely to see. Just before it’s all over, watch for Venus and the crescent Moon (also called the “Trolling Moon” when the “boat” of the crescent Moon pulls the fishing “tackle” of Venus behind it) below Jupiter, rising on the Eastern horizon at dawn on August 13.

moon_occult_venus_2012August 13 - Moon “eclipses” Venus: A rare daytime “occultation” of Venus.

While viewers in Western Canada will see the actual blocking of Venus by the Moon, those in Ontario and eastward will see Venus just get close to the Moon.

The cool thing for all is what a great opportunity this is to easily find and see Venus in broad-daylight.

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