Friday, April 24, 2009

See the Moon and Saturn this Sunday

On Sunday evening, there will be telescopes set up at Greenfield in Botetourt for the public to view the crescent Moon and the ringed-planet Saturn. The event will begin at 8:45 and end around 9:45. Go to the end of International Parkway to the turn-around.

Everyone is welcome!

Such is our view from Earth ...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Moon and Jupiter and Venus and Mars

Over the next five mornings, the crescent Moon slides by bright Jupiter, brilliant Venus, and dim Mars. This is a great time to positively ID these distant worlds. Tomorrow morning at 6, look to the south-southeast for the thinning crescent Moon glowing next to Jupiter. The following two mornings, our Moon moves to the east catching Venus on April 22. Look at Venus and the Moon through binoculars. A steady hand reveals Venus' tiny, thin crescent which points towards the not-yet-risen sun. The binoculars show many craters on our Moon.

The following morning, the Moon glides to Venus' east becoming even thinner. It may be difficult to see.

What about Mars? The fourth planet from the Sun, lies to the lower right of Venus. It certainly doesn't stand out in the brightening dawn sky. Over the next nine months it slowly becomes more prominent and by Christmas, it will be nearly as bright as Jupiter.

Such is our view from Earth ...