Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Planets Align

This makes me wish we had a telescope, and that we weren't expecting showers in the Portland area tomorrow night (and that cities weren't so darn bright). From NASA:

May 30, 2006: Something remarkable is about to happen in the evening sky. Three planets and a star cluster are converging for a close encounter you won't want to miss.

The action begins at sundown on Wednesday, May 31st, when the crescent Moon glides by Saturn: sky map. You can see them side-by-side about halfway up the western sky, shining through the glow of sunset--very pretty.

Got a backyard telescope? Point it at the Moon. You'll see craters and mountains casting long shadows. Next, look at Saturn. The planet's rings will take your breath away. Also, look around Saturn. There's a star cluster! Saturn is sitting right next to "the Beehive," a swarm of stars 600 light years from Earth.

This is just the beginning of a three week pageant in the heavens, with everything visible in the same general area of the early evening sky. Saturn feels lonely after the Moon moves on Thursday, so Mars gets invited, and then Mercury hears about all the fun and joins the party in mid June. The Beehive keeps providing soft party lighting. Sounds like a great bash. Wish I could see it.

1 comment:

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