Friday, June 23, 2006

For Astronomy Buffs and Skywatchers All

This is very cool.  There will be a "Planet Parade" on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 27 and 28th in the west-northwest sky.  As if in celebration of the seasonal change, four of our system's brightest planets will align at dusk.  One, Jupiter (the brightest) will gleam so brilliantly no one could miss it.  And this is a "naked eye" event, no scopes needed.

The crescent moon will point the way to the planetary event.  Mercury, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter will align for your pleasure, although you'll need to follow the waxing moon to the left, to guide your eye toward the lighter trio and the far brighter Jovian world. 

The best nights are 6/27 and 28.  Go outside after dinner and find a spot with a clear horizon, WEST-NORTHWEST (where the sun sets this time of year).  About 45 minutes after sundown, you'll be able to spot the thin crescent moon to the left of wherever you saw the sun set.  Don't look too high up, it's no more than the width of your outstretched hand, held at arm's length. 

Mars, Saturn and Mercury form a diagonal line in the sky.  During twilight on the 27th, look to the upper-left of the moon.  You'll see the faint coloring of each planet in yellows and rust, more with binocs.  They won't stay visible long, as they're small, but Jupiter will be visible long into the night. 

On the next night, same thing except look directly below the moon, instead of to the left.  The moon is orbiting the earth at about 240,000 miles away, not far at all.  All bunched together, this planetary alignment might look like one big moon but it's just a cosmic coincidence of which we have so very many, all spectacular. 

I really enjoy these things - it begs so many questions yet puts our world in perfect order.  Hope you enjoy it!!

(Info from "Sky & Telescope" and "Night Sky Magazine") 

       

    

 

8 comments:

sugarsweet056 said...

Very interesting, TY for posting.
Sug

madcobug said...

This is very interesting. I coppied and pasted it into an email to my daughter who is a middle school science teacher. Thanks for posting this info. Now if just don't forget to look LOL. Helen

xxroxymamaxx said...

So cool!  I did get the AOL Research and Learn Skywatchers Alert for this today as well.  Can't wait and I'll probably drag the whole family outside to see it! lol  They love it when I make them go out real late sometimes and watch the meteor showers and such.  

Now if I can just remember this on the 27th and the 28th? : /

Hugs and GBU, Shelly

luddie343 said...

DON'T WORRY GUYS, I'LL REMIND YA!!  Wishing you all clear skies -  Cathy

slimhawk said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the poem I wrote.  I have been published a few times but I don't do too much poetry anymore.  Thank you.

lurkynat said...

very nice Cathy!
thank you!
natalie

geminirising12 said...

DANG!!  I am always a day late and a dollar short.  This was an excellent entry and filled with wonderful information.  However, I am certainly not an Astromomy buff or skywatcher, but this would have been great to see if I had only paid more attention to the dates.  Needless to say, I have obviously missed the whole show.  Not your fault, Luddie - I think old age has taken over and the mind and memory are not what they used to be. :(
Thank you for informing us - I am just disappointed that I missed seeing this phenonomen.  Your entries are always very interesting and, of course, well written. I just wish you would add entries more often - seems like lots of time elapses between them.  (knocking my head against the wall for missing this "Planet Parade".

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