Monday, June 25, 2007

Venus passes Saturn in late June and early July

An interesting scene occurs in the west just after sunset during the next week. Brilliant Venus appears to move underneath the much dimmer Saturn. They may appear next to each other, but Saturn is 23 times farther away! Look for this about 10 pm.

Such is our view from Earth...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Space Station and Atlantis in our western sky

At 10:54 p.m. on Wednesday June 20, the International Space Station and Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS—117) passed across our western sky. They separated earlier in the day for the shuttle's eventual return to Earth. In this image, the ISS is the upper left streak and Atlantis is the other streak. The six day old moon is at the far left while Venus is setting at the bottom. Saturn is to Venus' upper left and Regulus is to Saturn's upper left.

The pair continued to the upper left for another 45 seconds until they disappeared in the Earth's shadow above the moon. The exposure was for 15 seconds, which provides an idea of how fast they were traveling across the sky.

Such is our view from Earth...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Passing of the Space Station and Space Shuttle

The International Space Station along with the Space Shuttle will pass in our western skies just before 11 pm tonight (6/20). Look low in the west at 10:54 p.m. A moderately bright "star" will be found moving to the upper right of brilliant Venus. It continues to the upper left passing to Saturn's upper right. At about 10:55:30 it moves to the upper right of the crescent moon. By 10:56 it is lost from view as it enters the Earth's shadow.

Take advantage of the great weather and wave at these technological marvels.

Such is our view from southwest Virginia...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Moon over takes Venus and Saturn

On Sunday evening the moon began to overtake Venus and Saturn.

Such is our view from Earth...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Western celestial scene

The western sky at about 10 pm on June 17, 18, and 19. Castor and Pollux are low, just about to set. Venus, Saturn and Regulus are in near alignment with the moon moving among them each evening.

Such is our view from Earth...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Pearls on a celestial string

Tonight (6/17), tomorrow and Tuesday evenings around 10 o'clock, look to the western sky for a series of intriguing celestial sites. Brilliant Venus, Saturn, and the bright star Regulus are all in a row. Each night our crescent moon grows fatter and brighter as it moves among them.

The moon, tonight, is to the lower right of commanding Venus and close to the horizon. By tomorrow, the moon hangs between Venus and Saturn on this celestial string. Tuesday night finds the moon's crescent glowing less than one of its diameters away from Regulus, the brightest star in Leo. Binoculars help split these two very different objects.

Such is our view from Earth...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Venus passes a cluster

When darkness settles, Venus—easily spotted since sundown—shines brightly in the west. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, this cloud cover planet skirts above the distant stars of the cluster M44. Binoculars will be needed to see their dim light. The glow from the planet will most likely interfere with the visibility of M44. Place yourself so that the dazzling planet lies behind a building's edge. M44's two dozen faint stars should be visible as a dim smudge. Try after 10 pm.

Such is our view from Earth...

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Let the games begin...

Within these spaces, you'll discover events and sights—some exceptional, others unnoticed, yet all fascinating—that occur outside our Earthly sphere.

Consider our skies tonight shortly after sunset.

High in the west shines brilliant Venus. Somewhat to its upper left lies the dimmer Saturn, but still brighter than any star in the area. As June continues, Venus creeps closer each night to the Ringed Planet until it finally passes Saturn on July 1.

Low in the east-southeast, glows Jupiter. The King of Planets is visible all night. By the beginning of morning twilight, Jupiter moves to the west-southwest.

Long before dawn, Mars sits unmistakeably high in the east. As the weeks pass, it grows brighter as our Earth slowly approaches it for the December close encounter.

Such is our view from Earth...