I’ve been a bit remiss in sending out updates on things to see in the sky, but fortunately there are others staying on top of it! Below I’ve forwarded info from Larry Sessions (host of the North American Skies web site) on a great observing opportunity over the next few days. There’s also a pretty picture of what you can see on today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day.
If you want to stay on top of what you can see in the sky, I recommend visit Larry’s site.
Hope summer is going well for all!
FORWARDED MESSAGE FROM LARRY SESSIONS:
Wednesday, 9 July 2008 — Three Planets You Shouldn’t Miss!
I wouldn’t want you to miss the close pairing of Mars and Saturn in the western evening sky over the next few days. From most of the US, the closest approach — separated by just a little more than the width of the Full Moon — is shortly after the two planets set on Thursday night. Although most of us will miss that particular moment, the two planets will appear just as close as viewed by the human eye several hours before and even again on Friday evening. Just look to the west at about the time it first gets dark. But look early, as the planets set early as well. They are located in Leo, the Lion. Saturn is significantly the brighter of the two, but you can identify this pair because of their closeness to each other. On Thursday evening, Mars is just to the lower left of Saturn. On Friday night, Mars — which moves faster — will appear more level with Saturn.
I should also mention that Jupiter reached "opposition" this morning, meaning that it is roughly opposite the Sun in the sky. It rises at sunset and stays up all night. By mid-evening it is a bright and unmistakable beacon in the southeastern sky. You can easily observe up to four of Jupiter’s moons (the Galilean Satellites, which were discovered by Galileo) in a small telescope. It is stunning so you don’t want to miss it — but it will be easily visible for months.
Clear Skies and good luck!