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Sunday, January 22, 2023

Conjunction of Saturn and Venus

Saturn and Venus will be in close conjunction with each other on the night of Sunday January 22 and the rest of that week. Conjunction appears when the planets are closest together in our line of sight.

On January 22 the two planets are just 1/3° apart at sunset, less than the diameter of a full moon. On that night Saturn will be just above Venus. By the next night, January 23, Venus will have moved upward and will be above Saturn. It will be joined on the 23rd by a beautiful new moon crescent, making a spectacular tableau.

To see them look westward toward the sunset point starting at 5:30pm. Venus will be unmistakable in its brightness with Saturn very close by but much dimmer. Binoculars will help, but not necessary. You will only be able to see the rings of Saturn with a telescope, otherwise they are just points of light.  Y 6:30pm they will have set and disappeared below the horizon, so you just have a 1 hour time window to view the beautiful sight.

During the conjunction you have the opportunity to see all 4 of the naked eye planets. To the upper left of Venus and Saturn is bright Jupiter, almost as bright as Venus and nearly overhead is bright red Mars. Mercury will not be visible, so 4 out of the 5 naked eye planets at once, not too shabby.

Saturn and Venus on January 22, 2023

Saturn and Venus on January 23, 2023

My poor smartphone photo of Saturn and Venus on Saturday night January 21 about 6:15pm, setting over Machtesh Ramon. 

Friday, May 27, 2022

Tau Herculids Meteor Storm Watch May 30-31

Star trippers! Keep an eye out the night of May 30-31, Monday night through Tuesday morning. A heretofore unseen stream of meteors may create a meteor STORM, not shower during which dozens of meterors per SECOND may pummel earth. Or not. No one knows for sure until the earth crosses the path of Comet SW3. The peak, if it occurs, is expected at 8:00am IDT the morning of May 31, during daylight hours. (1:00am EDT ON May 31 in the US). So the most favorable time to view in Israel is closest to dawn the morning of May 31, before dawn's light. Good luck to the world on this event!

More details here: Tau Herculids Meteor Storm

Monday, May 16, 2022

Supermoon and lunar eclipse create King Tides on Sea of Galilee

Tonight's Supermoon (full moon at perigee, closest to earth) combined with a lunar eclipse (sun and moon in exact conjunction) create King Tides on Yam Kinerret (Sea of Galilee).

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Total Lunar Eclipse in Israel May 16, 2022

Let's begin by saying the total lunar eclipse of May 15-16 is barely visible in Israel. The lunar eclipse in Israel begins just 14 minutes before the full moon sets. If you are in a high location looking westward you can see the beginnings of the eclipse with the moon very close to the western horizon starting at 5:27am in the early morning of May 16. The moon sets 14 minutes later at 5:41am. So just 14 minutes of a little slice of the moon eclipsed. You will need a perfectly clear western horizon and probably binoculars to view this.

Circumstances of the eclipse as seen from Jerusalem and an animation of it can be seen here: Lunar eclipse of May 16

Observers in the Americas, especially in the eastern US, will be able to see the entire eclipse starting at 9:32pm EDT on May 15.

Details for the US and rest of the world here: Details of lunar eclipse in US

Enjoy and share your experience and any photos with us. 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Perseids Meteor Shower Star Party in Mitzpe Ramon 2021

 The Perseids Meteor Shower peaks again this year on the night of August 12 into the morning of the 13th. We will have special meteor shower star party pricing of 75nis/person on the peak nights of the 11th and 12th of August. The town of Mitzpe Ramon is supposed to turn off its lights on both those nights, but I'm not sure. We will be located at Silent Arrow, probably the best, easiest to get to dark sky location in Mitzpe Ramon. Just drive down Ben Gurion Avenue and keep going behind town and you will come to the sign for Silent Arrow. Contact them at to see if there are any places left to spend the night. We will begin our meteor shower viewing there from 8:30pm-12:01am.

Last year because of Covid over 30,000 people came to the area. There was a traffic jam all the way from Beer Sheva into Mitzpe Ramon at night. I expect much the same this year, so plan to come early. Silent Arrow is not in the Crater where most people go, so it should be relatively isolated from the Balagan.

We will set up chairs but bring blankets to lie on and warm clothes. The desert gets cold at night. We will also set up telescopes for our traditional star tour, but meteor showers are whole-sky naked eye events, best viewed by lying down and looking up with no optical aid.


Places to eat:

More information about the Perseids Meteor Shower:


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