Observing

See comet 252P emerge in the UK predawn sky

When 252P/LINEAR passed just 14 lunar distances from Earth on 21 March, the comet was galloping across the far southern sky at a rate of almost ten degrees per day. Now rapidly heading north, 252P finally appears in the predawn UK sky. While moonlight will interfere with current observations, the comet is much brighter than predicted.

Observing

See Mars escape the claw of the Scorpion on 16 March

Now just ten weeks from opposition, Mars is growing in both apparent size and brightness in the pre-dawn sky as the distance between our two worlds decreases. On the morning of Wednesday, 16 March, around the onset of UK nautical twilight, the Red Planet passes just 0.15 degrees from double star Graffias in the constellation Scorpius.

Observing

A guide to our updated interactive Almanac

If the current alignment of all the bright naked-eye planets — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — in the morning sky has prompted you to speculate where in the world might be the best place to view the spectacle, here’s a guide to using our upgraded interactive Almanac to help you find out.

Observing

See the Moon’s ringed-planet rendezvous on 3-4 February

At 6am GMT on the mornings of 3 and 4 February, around the onset of astronomical twilight for the centre of the British Isles, the old waning crescent Moon brushes by ringed planet Saturn low to the south-southeast horizon. As a bonus for telescope users, the Moon occults globular cluster M9 shortly after 6am GMT on 4 February too.

Observing

See the Moon meet Mars in the pre-dawn of 1 February

As avid skywatchers will already know, all of the bright naked-eye planets are currently visible in the pre-dawn sky — the first time in eleven years that such an alignment has occurred. At 6am GMT on Monday, 1 February, the last quarter Moon in the constellation Libra lies just 2½ degrees from magnitude +0.8 planet Mars low in the south for UK observers.