The coming together of a bright planet with a thin crescent Moon is an event well worth seeing, even if you have to set the alarm clock for an early wake up.
In the small hours of 18 October the king of the planets, mighty Jupiter, lies close to an old crescent moon, with the added bonus of first-magnitude Regulus in quite close attendance.
Jupiter has been making its presence felt in the morning sky for some some weeks, now rising shortly after 1am BST and pulling to 20 degrees above the eastern horizon around 3.30am.
With Venus too close to the Sun to see, Jupiter is the brightest planet on show this month, blazing away at magnitude –2. A waning crescent moon is in Jupiter’s vicinity on the morning of Friday, 17 October, but pulls to within five degrees south on Saturday morning. The pair lie just inside Leo’s western border with Leo’s leader, magnitude +1.3 Regulus, about 10 degrees to Jupiter’s lower left (south-east).
This conjunction makes for a fine astrophotography opportunity! Please send your pictures to Astronomy Now at gallery2014 @ astronomynow.com we’ll publish the best of them.