Archive for August, 2010

A good time for stargazing *

August 11, 2010

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The current alignment of planets in the western sky just after sunset has offered an unique opportunity for some excellent stargazing lately. Venus, in her current incarnation as the evening star, is the brightest and most beautiful object in the sky right now. She is currently joined by both Saturn and Mars in early tropical Libra, making a threesome of planets which are easily recognizable to the naked eye, provided there is not too much light pollution where you live. I have seen the trio several times in the past week or two when I go for my evening walk. If you are out after sunset trying to find them look to the west. You will be able to spot Venus who is the bright star on the western horizon. Once you locate her you can find Mars and Saturn who are also in her general proximity, Mars being the redder of the those two. You can use binoculars if you like but in most places you should be able to see all three planets without using any binoculars.

Tomorrow night, on the 12th of August, the crescent moon will join this planetary trio for a unique opportunity to see a quadruple conjunction in the sky. Let’s pray for clear skies! You may also be able to see all four in the sky together on the 13th, though the moon will be higher in the sky than the other three planets by then.

And when you look up let yourself be reminded that stargazing inherently suggests the wonders and mysteries of the universe. This is where it all began.