Saskatchewan Skies

James Edgar

James Edgar, Saskatchewan Skies

James Edgar has had an interest in the night sky all his life. He joined the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in 2000 and is now editor's assistant and a contributor to Observer's Handbook, production manager of the bi-monthly RASC

  • May moon will not interfere with meteor shower

    The moon begins this month poised for three rapid-fire events: in the early morning of the 2nd, Venus is 4 degrees north, and the minor planet Vesta is 0.2 degrees south (an occultation in the . . .

    James EdgarApril 22, 2019

  • April Skies: Copernicus and Galileo responsible for setting the record straight

    The moon is waning to a very thin crescent as April begins, snuggling up to Venus in the early morning eastern sky on the 2nd. Much later that same day, the moon and Mercury have a close encounter,. . .

    James EdgarMarch 25, 2019

  • March skies – full moon will be on the 20th

    The moon begins this month with Saturn in a very close conjunction or occulted for some viewers, particularly in the Pacific, Central America, and southern North America. A day later, on the 2nd, . . .

    James EdgarFebruary 21, 2019

  • Month begins with a sliver moon

    The moon begins February as a thin sliver, waxing toward new phase. On the 2nd, Saturn and Pluto both are occulted – the ringed planet at 7 a.m. (the first in a monthly occurrence until November) . . .

    James EdgarJanuary 29, 2019

  • January Skies – Beginning sees a “humpbacked” moon

    The moon begins this month at the waning gibbous phase, getting the name from “humpbacked,” like a camel. Of note, the moon occults Saturn somewhere in the world (primarily tropical and Southern . . .

    James EdgarJanuary 1, 2019

  • December Skies

    James EdgarNovember 20, 2018

  • The moon is full Oct. 24

    The moon is at last quarter Oct. 2, a little bit west of M44, the Beehive Cluster. The two share the same space Oct. 4, and Regulus, the bright star in Leo, joins up Oct. 5. Jupiter is four degrees. . .

    James EdgarSeptember 28, 2018

  • Zodiacal light visible in the east

    The zodiacal light is visible in the east before morning twilight for the first two weeks of the month. The moon begins September only three days away from last quarter, and an occultation of . . .

    James EdgarAugust 21, 2018

  • Mercury too near the sun to be viewed

    The moon approaches third-quarter phase as the month begins, meaning it’s a third of the way through the lunar month, or a little over 22 days since new moon. The minor planet Juno is occulted . . .

    James EdgarJuly 24, 2018

  • It is solar and lunar eclipse season

    July begins with the moon just past full phase and five degrees south of Mars. July10, Aldebaran is occulted as the moon passes in front of the bright star. This event is favourable in central and . . .

    James EdgarJune 29, 2018

  • The moon is full May 29

    The moon was full May 29, so is still nearly full as June begins. Watch for Saturn 1.6 degrees south June 1. Mars is three degrees south June 3. By June 16, Venus meets up with Luna, only a couple . . .

    James EdgarMay 24, 2018

  • Mars emerges in the morning sky mid-month

    The moon begins the month in gibbous phase, nearing full. Even though the planet is a tough one to image, viewers might like to try seeing Neptune only half a degree away from the full moon on Sept. . .

    James EdgarAugust 25, 2017

  • August Skies: Mercury is in a good position for viewing

    The moon begins the month just past first quarter and approaching apogee, the furthest distance in its orbit away from Earth. On the 3rd, Saturn is a scant 3 degrees south of the moon. Full . . .

    James EdgarJuly 24, 2017

  • Jupiter dominates the southern sky at sunset

    July Skies The moon begins the month at first quarter, meaning it is one-quarter of the way through its phases. And, Jupiter is a scant three degrees south of the moon on the 1st. On Thursday, . . .

    James EdgarJune 27, 2017

  • ‘Morning Star’ meets up with the moon April 23

    April starts off with the moon in an occultation of Aldebaran, one of many throughout the year. This one is visible for most of Asia, but for us it’s a close conjunction. April 6, late in the . . .

    James EdgarMarch 23, 2017

  • Venus visible morning and evening

    The moon begins the month as a very thin sliver, just past new phase. There are several close encounters this month. A “conjunction” means the two bodies are on the same right ascension (RA), . . .

    James EdgarMarch 3, 2017

  • Venus a bright spotlight in the southern sky

    The moon is midway between new and first quarter as February begins, with Mars just two degrees above it Feb. 1. The dwarf planet Ceres is occulted on the evening Feb. 2 for viewers in northern . . .

    James EdgarJanuary 24, 2017

  • Quadrantid meteors peak Jan. 3, 120 sightings per hour

    The moon is just past new phase as the month begins, and already the events are lined up in the first few days. Jan. 2, Venus is just under two degrees below the slender moon, and the following . . .

    James EdgarDecember 29, 2016

  • Mercury, Venus, moon a trio as sun goes down

    The moon begins the month just past new phase, so is visible low in the west, but challenging. Saturn will likely be lost in the sun’s glare, but Mercury and Venus will be in the same part of the . . .

    James EdgarNovember 28, 2016

  • October begins with a new moon

    The moon is new as October begins, aligning Oct. 3 with Venus in the western evening sky. Venus, as the evening star, will be quite obvious, but the sliver of the moon may be a difficult . . .

    James EdgarSeptember 23, 2016

  • Month begins with solar eclipse

    The moon is new as September begins, marking the event with an annular solar eclipse, the track of which crosses the southern part of the African continent. On the following two days, both . . .

    James EdgarAugust 30, 2016

  • Evening Star beams like a spotlight all summer

    The moon is less than a half degree away from Aldebaran, the bright star in Taurus, the bull, as July opens, beginning a series of close approaches. By July 7, Regulus in Leo is about two degrees . . .

    James EdgarJune 29, 2016

  • Jupiter’s close encounters continue in June

    The moon is nearly at its new phase as June begins, and by June 3 it occults Mercury in the morning sky, visible from the southern part of Africa and parts of Antarctica. June 10, the moon brushes . . .

    James EdgarMay 26, 2016

  • April skies

    The moon is at last quarter as April begins. A few days later, on the 6th, Venus is less than a degree away, an occultation in the eastern hemisphere. The moon is new on the 7th, as well as being . . .

    James EdgarApril 1, 2016

  • Watch for zodiacal light in the last week of February

    The moon is at last quarter as the month begins. The early morning of Feb. 6 sees Venus and Mercury both within four degrees of the moon. Feb. 16, Aldebaran is occulted for viewers around the . . .

    James EdgarJanuary 25, 2016

  • Watch the western sky for Mercury’s show

    The moon is at last quarter Jan. 1, meaning that it is all the way through its earthly orbit. Thus 12.2 degrees of eastward motion per day times 22 days equals about 268 degrees. That’s a rough . . .

    James EdgarDecember 31, 2015

  • Jupiter, Mars, and Venus visible in eastern dawn sky

    The moon begins December entering last-quarter phase Dec. 3, a little less than two degrees away from Jupiter in the early morning sky. Dec. 5, Mars is within 0.1 of a degree, an occultation in the. . .

    James EdgarNovember 30, 2015

  • Moon joins in planetary foursome

    The moon begins the month in the waning gibbous phase, meaning it appears humped, like a camel’s back, waning meaning it’s showing less and less of the sunlit side as time passes. On the night of . . .

    James EdgarOctober 28, 2015

  • 2015 October Skies

    The moon is a couple days past full at the beginning of the month, and occulting Aldebaran, the bright star in Taurus on the 2nd. On the 8th, Venus is occulted for viewers in the South Pacific. For. . .

    James EdgarSeptember 29, 2015

  • Mercury and Jupiter put on a show

    The moon was full on the last day in July, so opens the month one day past full. Uranus is within a degree of the moon Aug. 5, an occultation in the Southern Hemisphere. By Aug. 8, Aldebaran, the. . .

    James EdgarJuly 23, 2015

  • Venus is at maximum brightness

    As July begins, the moon starts out at full phase and appearing quite large, as it is at perigee (closest to Earth in its orbit). On the evening of July 8, Uranus is occulted for parts of the . . .

    James EdgarJune 23, 2015

  • June begins with an almost full moon

    he moon is nearly full June 1, with Saturn less than two degrees south. Full phase is a day later. June 11, Uranus is a half a degree away, which is an occultation of the greenish planet to South . . .

    James EdgarMay 21, 2015

  • Mercury and the moon provide photography challenge

    The moon becomes full May 4, and that evening it is within two degrees of Saturn just before midnight as the ringed planet rises. By May 15, in the early eastern sky, Uranus is only 0.2 degrees . . .

    James EdgarApril 29, 2015

  • Mercury not visible for the first half of the month

    The moon begins the month nearly full, at the end of the first eclipse season of the year. Recall last month there was a total solar eclipse March 20. Two weeks later, on April 4, a lunar eclipse . . .

    James EdgarMarch 24, 2015

  • Venus in the middle of a three-planet lineup

    The moon begins March in the waxing gibbous phase, meaning the lit portion is getting larger each passing day, “gibbous” meaning humped, like a camel's back. March 3, Jupiter shares the night sky . . .

    James EdgarFebruary 23, 2015

  • Mercury shines in the eastern morning sky

    The moon begins the year only two days away from full phase. Jupiter is a mere five degrees away Feb. 4, making a delightful photographic pairing among the stars of the eastern sky. Feb. 12, Saturn. . .

    James EdgarJanuary 27, 2015

  • Planets line up for a photo opp Jan. 22

    The moon starts off the year in the waxing gibbous phase, meaning it is gradually getting closer and closer to full phase. Gibbous means “humped” like a camel’s back. Jan. 1, the bright star . . .

    James EdgarDecember 28, 2014

  • Saturn and the moon provide photo opp

    The month begins with the moon at waxing gibbous phase, and Uranus is just 1.2 degrees south, just like the month previous during the lunar eclipse of Oct. 8. Four days later, Dec. 5, Aldebaran, the bright star in Taurus, is just over a degree away. And,

    By James EdgarNovember 25, 2014

  • South Taurid meteor shower peaks Nov. 5

    The moon begins the month just past first quarter, only a few days away from full phase Nov. 6. But, before that, Luna has an encounter with Uranus Nov. 4, an occultation in the North Atlantic. Then, Nov. 8, the moon brushes by the bright star Aldebaran

    By James EdgarOctober 24, 2014

  • Watch for lunar eclipse Oct. 8

    The moon is at first quarter as the month begins ("first quarter" meaning half of the way through the lunar month, a little over seven days from "new"). And, a little over seven days later, the moon is full, also a lunar eclipse that day, Oct. 8. For

    By James EdgarSeptember 24, 2014

  • Four planets line up towards month's end

    The moon begins in its first-quarter phase right by Mars and Saturn, as the month opens. Full moon is Sept. 8. Uranus is occulted Sept. 10 in Eastern Canada; a close approach for westerners. Sept. 15, the moon is within 1.4 degrees of Aldebaran, the

    By James EdgarAugust 26, 2014

  • Perseids meteor shower Aug. 12

    The moon is nearly at first quarter as the month begins. Mars and Saturn hover close by, all three bodies almost directly south at sundown. This is an occultation for Saturn, but only visible as such in the South Pacific and Far East. The moon is full

    By James EdgarJuly 30, 2014

  • Venus, Mercury and the moon form a nice trio July 24

    July's moon begins a few days past new phase, so presents a thin curve in the western evening sky at sundown. July 5, just past first quarter, Mars is less than one degree away, an occultation in the Southern Hemisphere. A couple of days later, Saturn is

    James EdgarJune 25, 2014

  • Viewing Saturn stirs the imagination

    The moon begins the month as a slight sliver in the west at sundown. Jupiter is just a few degrees to the right. By June 7, Mars and Spica bracket the moon - one above and the other below left. Toward month end, Venus shares the eastern morning sky with

    James EdgarMay 27, 2014

  • Do something out of this world May 10

    International Astronomy Day is May 10. Are you planning an "out-of-this-world" event? Take your kids (or grandkids) to an observatory or planetarium - they're outta sight! New moon was only two days ago, so we see a thin crescent in the western evening

    James EdgarApril 24, 2014

  • Lunar and solar eclipses in April

    The moon is new March 30, so, as April opens, we see only a thin crescent in the west at sundown. By April 6, Jupiter is in the same part of the sky, just five degrees north. April 14, Mars is within three degrees, and the next night the moon is full,

    James EdgarMarch 25, 2014

  • Two full moons in March

    The moon is new March 1 and again March 30. Jupiter is five degrees away March 10. Full moon occurs March 16, and, in a repeat of last month, Spica, Mars and Saturn join in March 18, 19 and 20. Again, Saturn's encounter is an occultation south of the

    James EdgarFebruary 25, 2014

  • Venus is the Morning Star in February

    The New moon was Jan. 30, so we see only a thin slice of lunar crescent in the west at sundown Feb. 1. Mercury shines just a few degrees below it, but you need a clear western horizon to see the fleet-footed innermost planet. By Feb. 11, the moon is

    James EdgarJanuary 30, 2014

  • Spot the gas giant in the daytime

    The year begins with the moon right beside the sun - new moon. Saturn and Mars are to the west, just before sunrise. A couple of days later, Venus hangs within two degrees in the western evening sky. The moon is full Jan. 15, the smallest appearance of

    James EdgarDecember 30, 2013

  • The moon hovers just above Saturn

    The month begins with the moon just below Saturn (an occultation in the extreme south of Antarctica) and to the west of Mercury in the early morning eastern sky. New moon is Dec. 3, so observation of the slender crescent Dec. 1 will be a serious

    By James EdgarNovember 26, 2013

  • Crescent moon hugs horizon with Venus

    November opens with the moon only a couple of days away from its new phase, and therefore an early morning object. The phase also means an eclipse may happen, and this being eclipse season, a hybrid solar eclipse will be visible for viewers in central

    By James EdgarOctober 29, 2013

  • Mercury hugs horizon at sundown

    The month begins with the thin crescent waning moon in the early morning sky next to Mars. New moon is Oct, 4, and the moon is full Oct. 18. In rapid succession, Mercury and Saturn Oct. 6, and Venus Oct. 8 are in close proximity to the waxing crescent of

    James EdgarSeptember 24, 2013

  • Mars six degrees north of the moon

    September opens with Mars only six degrees north of the moon in the eastern dawn, quickly followed by new moon Sept. 5. Sept. 8, Spica is less than a degree away, and is occulted in eastern Canada and Europe. Venus, in the west, is less than half a

    By James EdgarAugust 29, 2013

  • Jupiter, Mars and Saturn line up Aug. 5

    The moon and Jupiter will share the morning sky in Aug. 3, followed quickly by close encounters with Mars Aug. 4 and Mercury Aug. 5. For this to happen, all three planets must be lined up at equal spacing on the ecliptic, making for another of those

    By James EdgarJuly 30, 2013

  • Lunar cycle a repeat from last month

    July begins with the moon just past third quarter, and new moon is July 8. This is an exact repeat of last month, which should come as no surprise, since the original word was "moonth." The moon orbits the Earth in about 29 days (29.5 days),

    By James EdgarJune 25, 2013

  • Close encounter for Venus and Mercury

    The moon is at third-quarter phase, one week ahead of new moon June 8. Venus and Mercury are both within a hand width June 10. June 18, Virgo's bright star Spica is an amazing 0.1 degree away from the moon, an occultation in the southern part of our

    By James EdgarMay 28, 2013

  • Shallow eclipse of academic interest

    The month opens with the moon at last quarter, meaning it is three-quarters of the way through its month. New moon is May 9, plus this is an annular solar eclipse in the South Pacific. Remember that lunar and solar eclipses come in pairs (or triples)

    By James EdgarMay 2, 2013

  • Lyrid meteors peak April 22

    As April begins, the moon is in its waxing gibbous phase, seen in the south before sunrise. Saturn is just off to the southwest. Mercury, visible in the dawn sky all month, is seven degrees south of the slender crescent moon April 7 and 8. These could be

    By James EdgarMarch 26, 2013

  • Comet visible this month

    In June last year, an automated telescope located in Hawaii, dubbed Pan-STARRS, discovered a faint comet that is expected to reach naked-eye brightness when it nears perihelion in March. That's right now, and the comet is indeed bright enough to be seen

    By James EdgarMarch 12, 2013

  • The Ringed Planet hovers close by

    March opens with the moon just a 10th of a degree away from the bright star, Spica. Which means that Saturn will be close by, also, since the Ringed Planet has been hovering around that area for months. Spica is a blue-giant variable, in fact, it's a

    By James EdgarFebruary 27, 2013

  • Saturn lights up Eastern morning sky

    February begins with the third-quarter moon, Saturn, and Spica lighting up the eastern morning sky. Spica is just east of the moon Feb. 1, with Saturn a bit further east. Feb. 2, the moon is between the two bright objects, directly south just before dawn.

    By James EdgarJanuary 30, 2013

  • Moon almost touches Venus Jan. 10

    The moon begins the year having just passed through full phase in late December. Lunar phases after full are seldom seen, since you have to wait up until well after sunset to see them. Considering that the moon moves eastward 12.2 degrees per day,

    By James EdgarDecember 26, 2012

  • Good opportunity to view Mercury

    December begins with the moon just past full phase. We get a few rapid close calls Dec. 9 to 12 - the star Spica is within a degree (an occultation in the Southern Hemisphere) Dec. 9; Saturn and the moon are four degrees apart the following night; Venus

    By James EdgarNovember 28, 2012

  • Venus and Spica brack crescent moon

    The moon starts out the month just past full phase, with Jupiter less than a degree above in the eastern evening sky - an occultation in southern Africa. Nov. 11, Venus and Spica bracket the thin crescent moon in the early morning. Spica is occulted for

    By James EdgarOctober 31, 2012

  • Two full moons in August

    The moon is full as the month begins, ending in full phase again - two full moons in one month. Aug.11, the moon occults (passes in front of) Jupiter for viewers in the western Pacific; it's a close conjunction for others. Two days later, Venus is

    By James EdgarAugust 1, 2012

  • Month begins with large full moon July 3

    The month opens with the moon just about at full phase, which occurs July 3. The moon is also at perigee July 1, making this a rather large full moon. July 15, in the morning dawn, Venus is 4 degrees below the thin crescent moon, while Jupiter is an

    By James EdgarJune 27, 2012

  • Rare Venus transit to occur June 5

    The month opens with the moon four days away from full phase. It cuddles up to the bright star Spica and Saturn, the ringed planet, June 1. A full moon is an opportunity for an eclipse, as is a new moon. If the orbits line up just right, as happened at

    By James EdgarMay 30, 2012

  • Moon close to planets, stars, asteroids this month

    The moon begins the month with some close pairings: Mars on the first; Spica and Saturn on the third; then full phase on the fifth. That full moon is the largest of the year, the time when our satellite reaches perigee (closest approach) with Earth. On

    By James EdgarMay 2, 2012

  • Venus at its brightest April 30

    The moon is full on the evening of April 6, hovering near Saturn and the bright star, Spica in the eastern sky. Later in the month, April 19, Mercury shares the sky, but this will be a tough observation, as the moon is a mere sliver in the early eastern

    By James EdgarMarch 28, 2012

  • Moon is prominent near its full phase

    March begins with the moon in almost the same circumstances as in February, except shifted by one day as a result of that extra "leap day." Full moon is March 8, with a close pairing of Mars on the same day. A couple of days later, the moon, Spica, and

    By James EdgarFebruary 29, 2012

  • Celestial objects form a row Feb. 27

    Last month ended with the moon at first quarter, so the next full moon is seven days later - Feb. 7. Feb.10 Mars is within 10 degrees - an early morning apparition. Just after midnight Feb.12, Spica and Saturn make a nice triplet with the moon in the

    By James EdgarFebruary 2, 2012

  • Moon hangs with Jupiter

    The New Year opens with the moon at first quarter, and, a day later, it hangs right by Jupiter in the southern evening sky. The moon is full Jan. 9; hard by Mars in the early morning sky Jan. 14; two degrees away from the bright star, Spica, Jan. 16;

    By James EdgarDecember 30, 2011

  • Moon and Jupiter set for close encounter

    The moon is full Nov. 10, and watch for a close meeting in the east with Jupiter Nov. 9. About five degrees separates them. Nov. 19, Mars and the moon share the early morning sky. Three days later, Saturn is within seven degrees, joined by the bright

    By James EdgarOctober 22, 2011

  • June brings in a new moon

    June begins with a new moon, also resulting in a partial solar eclipse in high northern latitudes; mostly visible in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Quebec. This is the second solar eclipse of the year, followed two weeks later by a lunar

    By James EdgarJune 1, 2011

  • Early bird gets the sky photo

    As May begins, the very thin moon joins bright Venus and Mercury in the early morning sky, with Mars and Jupiter hugging the horizon. This could make a very picturesque setting for astrophotographers. You must be early, though, because the sun rises

    By James EdgarMay 4, 2011

  • The moon is in a new phase

    April begins with the moon at its new phase - almost in front of the sun. Because the moon's orbit is slightly tilted with respect to the plane of the Solar System, we don't see eclipses at each new moon, only at the times when the orbit crosses the

    By James EdgarApril 1, 2011

  • Mercury difficult to observe

    The moon begins the month as a thin sliver visible in the early morning, alongside Mercury. The latter will be a tough observation, as the sun brightens the sky just as Mercury clears the horizon. By Feb. 6, the moon will be in its new phase, sharing

    By James EdgarJanuary 31, 2011

  • Watch for lunar eclipse Dec. 10

    December opens with the moon at first quarter Dec. 2, meaning it is seven days (and a little bit) from new. Seven days (and a little bit) later will be full moon, and this particular full moon Dec. 10 lines up with the Earth's shadow - a lunar eclipse,

    By James EdgarJanuary 30, 2011

  • Luna's close encounters begin Sept. 1

    The month begins with the moon at last quarter, meaning 21 days have passed since new moon. It will be full Sept. 23, which, coincidentally, is the day after the Autumn Equinox. Luna's close encounters for the month begin Sept. 1, when it is less than a

    By James EdgarJanuary 10, 2011

  • Solar eclipse visible in the eastern hemisphere

    January begins with the moon as a daytime object, rising just before the sun at about 7:30 a.m. and crossing the sky before it sets at 1:30 p.m. It's just a thin crescent and difficult to see. New moon occurs Jan. 4, and full moon is Jan. 19. New moon

    By James EdgarDecember 28, 2010

  • Full lunar eclipse Dec. 21

    December begins with the moon just ending her final phases - four days from new moon Dec. 5. Then, Dec. 6 and 7, our satellite brushes past first Mars and then Mercury, both planets dimly seen in the west right after sunset, accompanied by a very thin

    By James EdgarDecember 1, 2010

  • Moon begins month on the wane

    This month opens with the moon in its waning gibbous state, meaning it is reducing in illuminated size and the lit portion has a "humped" or "bulging outward" shape. The moon is also at apogee, 405,036 kilometres. Compare this to the perigee distance

    By James EdgarJune 30, 2010