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Identifying Planets tonight

Robert Watcher

Well-known member
I have never identified Mercury in the sky, so I was excited to find out that right now the Inner Planets Mars, Mercury and Venus would be visible in an arc in the evening sky and that over the next few days the sliver crescent moon will be following this arc and passing by each one of them. The moon had already gone below the horizon by the time I arrived.

I grabbed a short 1 hour star trail facing S-S/E while I was out in my favourite dark location.

Before leaving, the Gemini Constellation with Mars forming a triangle with the twins (which we see out our bedroom window each night), had moved to just above the horizon. I created an additional shot highlighting the stars and form of the constellation. A beautiful night tonight.





Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Inner planets are the ones closer to us than the sun, so Mars is an outer planet. But this aside, I enjoyed the pictures very much. Is that your Olympus again?

Robert Watcher

Well-known member
Thank you Jerome. Yes I use Olympus cameras.

Inner planets are the ones closer to us than the sun, so Mars is an outer planet. But this aside, I enjoyed the pictures very much. Is that your Olympus again?

That is what I initially concluded as well. But I learned something new in my research before heading out to identify the planets last night. It turns out that the 4 Inner Planets (Venus, Mercury, Earth and Mars) orbit the Sun inside the Asteroid Belt (part of inner solar system) - while the Outer Planets go around the Sun outside the Asteroid Belt (part of outer solar system).


the asteroid belt is the white donut-shaped cloud. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

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Robert Watcher

Well-known member
A wonderful vantage point last night for catching the arc of the Inner Planets Venus, Mercury and Mars —- along with the Crescent Moon aligned with Mercury just after the sun set on Lake Huron.





Robert Watcher

Well-known member
I am hoping for a clear night tonight to catch a shot of the moon close to Mars in the Gemini Constellation.

We noticed the moon out our bedroom window last night and saw that it was halfway between Mars and Mercury. It has been fun following this path of the Moon beside Venus on May 12’th (not visible with it following the sun over the horizon, Moon beside Mercury on May 13’th, and now Moon close to Mars on May 15’th.

Before this little adventure I didn’t know that the Moon rises about an hour later each day. As well Anne challenged herself to figure out how the Moon disappeared over the Western horizon in daytime or shortly after sunset, following the sun. And yet it has been doing that our whole life LOL.

Our look into the skies on a simplistic lever (no telescopes or paraphernalia) over the past year+ with the change in our daily routine, has been quite educational. And has resulted in a lot of late night quality time for us in the stark blackness of remote country codes.

For anyone interested, this is a nice resource I have used to verify what I can see from my location at a specific time. Just dial those in: