Planet Gazing

July 13, 2009
When I first discovered that you could actually see five of the planets in our solar system with the naked eye, I was blown away. I mean, the planets? Yes!

In fact, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, are all visible in the night sky at certain times of the year. Now the trick to see a planet is knowing where to find them, and for that you may have to go to an astronomy website. But for starters, Venus is particularly easy to spot.

I was out in the front yard, just yesterday morning, oh say around 5 am. You see, Abby needed to use the outdoor facilities and was polite enough to wake me. That was fine, we get up early anyway, but I was astounded to see Venus, fairly prominent in the eastern sky. You can't miss it. You probably will think it's a plane. But no, that's Venus alright. Just look at her for a minute or so, she doesn't move, so she's no plane.

Planet watching has become such an enjoyable pasttime for myself, that I follow them as they transit the night sky. Only at times of the year when they are close to the sun are they not really visible from the Earth.

Right now, you can see Saturn in the evening. But in the morning, you can see Jupiter, also a very bright white "star-like" prominence in the east, Venus, and Mars. Mars is quite close to Venus in June/July of 2009, so look just slightly to the left of Venus and you'll see Mars, much smaller, kind of orange red.

Planet watching sure can expand your reality of the world we live in and on!! Happy watching!

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