Monday, July 2, 2007

Strangers in the Night

So, I like astronomy. I got a telescope as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago, and it's been so much fun. Last night was one of those moments that geeks like me live for, a conjunction of planets. Low in the western sky, Venus and Saturn were within less than a degree of each other. So close that through my wide angle lense, I could see the crescent shape of Venus and the rings of Saturn at the same time.

The two will be together for a few more nights. By Tuesday, July 3rd, the gap between the two planets will have widened noticeably, but now they'll be side-by-side, with Venus on the left, Saturn on the right. But look fast because they will quickly be swallowed by twilight and then fall below the western horizon. Saturn will not be seen again for many months.

But there is another Skywalker.

The ruler of the summer sky is Jupiter, and my favorite planet. He can be found by locating the brightest object in the southern sky. Even those of you in Brooklyn will be able to see him. Through powerful binoculars or a small scope you can easily see the four Galiliean moons, Callisto, Io, Europa & Ganymede.