Falling Awake

Just Darts Since 2009

Looking up…

On the astronomy beat, this week is great for planet-spotting.  Four of the five bright naked-eye planets are in the sky together in the early evening hours. 

SPACE.com — Planet Parade: Spot Four Worlds in the Night Sky

 I don’t think I’ve ever managed to see Mercury.  In the evening it requires a clear western horizon which is hard to find in these parts.  I could get up at dawn when it’s visible in the eastern sky and go down to the ocean, but I’m saving that for my retirement.

With a small telescope or a good pair of binoculars, you should be able to see Saturn’s rings.  Also, see if you can glimpse any of Jupiter’s four large moons.  They may be further away from the planet than you’d think, so pan around.

While we’re on the subject of viewing planets, take a look at this movie.  It was made in 1990, but I hadn’t seen it before.  It’s constructed from a series of still photographs snapped once per minute by the Galileo spacecraft as it passed by Earth on it’s way to Jupiter.  Refresh the page to view it again.  (It takes a couple of minutes to load on dial-up the first time you view it.)

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