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The following abbreviations are used in the planet ephemeris:

SupCon (all planets) - Superior Conjunction: from the vantage point of the Earth, the planet is behind the Sun and is therefore not visible. The planet will become visible in the morning/evening twilight within a few weeks after the superior conjunction date. Whether it will be visible in the morning or evening sky depends upon whether it is an inferior planet (closer to the Sun than the Earth, i.e. Mercury and Venus) or a superior planet (further out than the Earth, i.e. Mars and beyond):

If it is an inferior planet, it will enter the evening sky (i.e. it will be visible in the Western sky shortly after sunset); Mercury typically becomes visible a couple of weeks - and Venus several weeks - after the superior conjunction date.

If it is a superior planet, it will enter the morning sky (i.e. it will be visible in the Eastern sky shortly before sunrise) a couple of weeks or so after the superior conjunction date.

Opp (superior planets only) - Opposition: the planet is directly opposite the Sun, is closest to the Earth and shines at its brightest for the whole year. When a planet is at opposition, the Sun, the Earth and the planet form a straight line in space. The planet rises opposite the Sun in the sky around sunset, is visible all night long and sets opposite the Sun around sunrise. A planet at opposition is due South at local midnight in the Northern hemisphere (in the Southern hemisphere, it is due North at local midnight). Before opposition, a superior planet is often called a 'morning star'; after opposition it is often called an 'evening star'.

GE(E) Eve (inferior planets only) - Greatest Elongation (East) Evening: the planet has reached its furthest point East of the Sun and is visible for its longest duration in the western sky after sunset. The planet's angular elongation (i.e. the number of degrees away from the Sun) is also listed. Following the greatest eastern elongation, the planet will slowly move back in towards the Sun, becoming visible for a shorter and shorter period of time after sunset.

GE(W) Mor (inferior planets only) - Greatest Elongation (West) Morning: the planet has reached its furthest point West of the Sun and is visible for its longest duration in the eastern sky before sunrise. The planet's angular elongation is also listed. Following the greatest western elongation, the planet will slowly move back in towards the Sun, becoming visible for a shorter and shorter period of time before sunrise.

InfCon (inferior planets only) - Inferior Conjunction: the planet is passing between the Earth and the Sun and is therefore not visible. The planet will re-appear in the morning sky (rising in the Eastern sky shortly before the Sun) about a week or so after the inferior conjunction date.

(Note that Mercury's morning and evening appearances are listed seperately; its inferior and superior conjunction dates are numerous and are not listed, since its visibility periods are brief).

The constellation in which each of the planets will be seen (when they are visible) is shown in brackets, in its abbreviated (three-letter) format, as follows:

 

Aqr - Aquarius

Ari - Aries

Cap - Capricornus

Cet - Cetus*

Cnc - Cancer

Gem - Gemini

Leo - Leo

Lib - Libra

Oph - Ophiuchus

Ori - Orion*

Psc - Pisces

Sco - Scorpius

Sex - Sextans*

Sgr - Sagittarius

Tau - Taurus

Vir - Virgo

*Non-zodiac constellations

Having determined the constellation in which the planet is currently situated, the direction in which it rises and sets can be found using the accompanying rising and setting direction table.


 

 

 

 

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The star map includes the following constellations, listed alphabetically (zodiacal constellations are in green):-

 

Aqr - Aquarius (The Water-bearer)

Leo - Leo (The Lion)

Aql - Aquila (The Eagle)

Lep - Lepus (The Hare)

Ant - Antlia (The Air Pump)

Lib - Libra (The Scales)

Ari - Aries (The Ram)

Mon - Monoceros (The Unicorn)

Boo - Boötes (The Herdsman)

Oph - Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer)

Cap - Capricornus (The Sea-Goat)

Ori - Orion (Orion, The Hunter)

Cet - Cetus (The Whale)

Peg - Pegasus (Pegasus, The Winged Horse)

CMa - Canis Major (The Greater Dog)

Psc - Pisces (The Fishes)

CMi - Canis Minor (The Lesser Dog)

PsA - Piscis Austrinus or Piscis Australis (The Southern Fish)

Cnc - Cancer (The Crab)

Pyx - Pyxis (The Mariner's Compass)

Com - Coma Berenices (Berenice's Hair)

Scl - Sculptor (The Sculptor)

CrB - Corona Borealis (The Northern Crown)

Sco - Scorpius (The Scorpion)

Crt - Crater (The Cup)

Sct - Scutum (The Shield)

Crv - Corvus (The Crow)

Ser (to East of Oph) - Serpens Cauda (The Serpent's Tail)

Cyg - Cygnus (The Swan)

(to NW of Oph) - Serpens Caput (The Serpent's Head)

Del - Delphinus (The Dolphin)

Sex - Sextans (The Sextant)

Eri - Eridanus (The River Eridanus)

Sge - Sagitta (The Arrow)

For - Fornax (The Furnace)

Sgr - Sagittarius (The Archer)

Gem - Gemini (The Twins)

Tau - Taurus (The Bull)

Her - Hercules (Hercules, The Kneeler)

Vir - Virgo (The Virgin)

Hya - Hydra (The Water Snake)

Vul - Vulpecula (The Fox)

 


Copyright © Martin J Powell  November 2005/April 2007/July 2012


 

 

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