Monday, November 2, 2015

Finding Venus, Mars, and Jupiter... and the International Space Station

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Tomorrow morning there will be another excellent opportunity to see the planetary trio of Mars, Venus, and Jupiter. They should be pretty easy to spot as long as your sky is relatively cloud free.

You'll want to look to the east a couple of hours before dawn and find the brightest thing in the sky just above the horizon.  That will be Venus.  Extend your arm in front of you with your index finger pointing outward and line up your finger with the left side of Venus.

Mars should be on the other side of your finger, almost parallel to Venus. It should look reddish, especially if you are viewing through binoculars or a telescope. Jupiter will be quite a bit higher in the sky and not quite as bright as Venus.

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If you miss it tomorrow morning, each day, Venus will move farther away from Mars so keep that in mind if you look for it on a different morning. It will always be the brightest thing in the sky over the horizon. 

This will be the view on Friday, November 6th, when Jupiter buddies up to the Moon.

You should have no trouble seeing the planets since the Moon will be a waning crescent.

Over the weekend, the Moon will continue to move down in the sky so that by Saturday morning, it should be sitting right next to Venus.

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You can read more about this HERE on
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The International Space Station will also be visible every morning this week on both coasts.  You should be able to spot it with the nnaided eye -- it's the third brightest thing in the sky and even city dwellers should have no trouble identifying it.  With a good pair of binoculars or even a modest telescope, you should be able to see a fair amount of structural detail.  

You can register for alerts or simply check the schedule HERE on NASA's website.  NASA will send alerts when the ISS is passing overhead just before dawn and just after dusk.  THIS is a link that explains how to interpret the information in the alert so you can find the ISS.

And mark your calendars now:  the next spacewalk will be happening this Friday when Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren step out of the airlock and into space.  Log into NASA TV to watch the preparations and the actual walk.  NASA broadcasts feeds from cameras mounted on the astronauts' helmets and on the space station itself.

You can read more about this on  The schedule for all upcoming live events on NASA TV is HERE.  Coverage for this Friday;s spacwalk begins at 5:30 AM EST (2:30 AM Pacific) and the spacewalk starts at 7:10 AM EST (4:10 AM Pacific).

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