Having set myself the challenge of observing all the planets with a pair of 10x50mm binoculars I bought in Lidle for €19 this year I got to tick another one off my list today, Jupiter. I now just need Mars and the two difficult ones, Uranus & Neptune. Although Jupiter is the only one I get to cross off my list today I did get to observe many more planets, in fact, I observed all the planets bar the three I’m missing!

I started the evening by observing a beautiful thin crescent moon low to the east. Above it and within the same binocular field of view was Venus. As the crescent was very thin there was some beautiful earth shine on the moon. I could even make out the major features on the un-lit part of the Moon!

Having very quickly and easily found the Moon and Venus I set out to pick Mercury out of the evening twilight. I found it quite easily with the binoculars and tracked it for about half an hour as it got lower and lower until it was less than half a field of view away from the horizon! I did manage to glimpse it with the naked eye two or three times during that time but only on the few occasions when my north eastern horizon was totally free of even low cloud or haze.

By the time Mercury had set I was easily able to pick out Saturn and then later at about 2am I observed Jupiter with my binoculars and my 6.25″ Dobsonian. Because of how low in the sky Jupiter was the views were actually rather disappointing.