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March night sky: 5 planets visible!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm a big stargazer and though there might be others on here.
I got this from my weatherbug program:

March Night Sky
6AM EST, March 2, 2004
By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Justin Consor

March will bring a rare chance to see five planets at once.

Venus remains the brightest of the visible planets To find it, look in the western sky just after dusk until around 9pm local time this week, and until 10pm by the end of March.

A unique opportunity to view Venus will arrive on Wednesday, March 24 when it will be positioned in close proximity to the crescent moon.

The next brightest planet is Jupiter, which appears low in the eastern sky just after dusk this week and will get progressively higher as it shifts toward the southern sky around midnight. Jupiter is visible in between the legs of the Leo constellation.

By the end of March, it will be visible much higher in the southeastern sky just after dusk. With a small telescope, you will be able to observe a group of satellites orbiting the planet.

Higher in the sky above Venus is Mars, which will appear like an yellowish-orange star. Mars is visible from dusk until around 11PM local time.

On Thursday, March 25, the Red Planet will make a close pass to the crescent moon in the western sky.

Look in the western sky between dusk and around 2am to locate Saturn and its beautiful rings. It can be located by finding the feet of the Gemini constellation.

The fifth planet is Mercury, which was not visible in February. On March 14, Mercury will become visible low in the western sky around 30 minutes after sunset. However, timing is everything, as it will disappear below the horizon by 45 to 60 minutes after sunset.

From March 14 until the end of the month, all 5 planets will be visible in the sky just after sunset. March 27 will be the culmination of this setup as all 5 planets will be visible within a 135-degree span of the sky, from southeast to west.
post #2 of 17
Neat!! I took Stllar Astronomy in college and I used to teach Astronomy to middle school kids so I am definatly interested

Thanks for posting
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Ooo that's cool!
No problem! My favorite site when it comes to this kind of stuff is
www.skymaps.com They have star charts you can print out each month free and it tells you what other events like meteor showers are each month.
post #4 of 17
Stellar stargazer? Ha! Let me see... I've got a 70mm telescope, I am the secretary of juvenile affairs of the Astronomy Society of Puerto Rico, and take part in their star parties, and I am right now in charge of finding a good place for an observation of the transit of Venus in the 7th of july.

Does that make me a stargazer?

Thanks for the info! I had not gotten it yet. I better check this month's issue of Sky & Telescope.

I've got a couple of sites:

www.skyandtelescope.com (Sky and Telescope Magazine)

www.astronomy.com (Astronomy Magazine)

www.geocities.com/saprinc (The astronomy Society of P.R. (Ain't I a bit shameless in self promoting?))
post #5 of 17
Oh wow. Not a great sky watcher as a rule but I do love a clear night when everything is quiet and a sit in the back garden (I would lie on the grass but the neighbours might worry.) When you look up into this deep, deep velvet and just lose yourself. Amazing. I get a bit giddy though does anyone else experience this?
Do you know the times for UK sky watching to see these planets together. I would go on the star sites mentioned but I'm afraid I might not be able to interpret them if you see what I mean, just being a sky gazer rather than a 'know what I'm looking for' type of person. I dont even know which ways North
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
I love to lay outside and look at the stars too! I also used to know nothing about them or the sky, but was so enchanted by the sky I ended up wanting to learn more. Now I know about the stars, the weather and it makes star gazing much more fun!
post #7 of 17
ohhhh--thanks so much Amber for telling us about this! Hopefully, we won't be having all the rain that week that we've been having this week!
post #8 of 17
Oooo...fellow stargazers....never would have thought.

Well, do you know about the comets that could be visible to the naked eye that are due late April/early May?

Comet LINEAR is due to be visible mid May but possibly will be too low in the sky for folks in the northern hemisphere and is expected to be seen in South Africa and Australia.

And the second one, Comet NEAT will be closest to the earth May 7th 2004.

BUT! There's always a but! These two comets are new and new comets are very unpredictable and there are chances of them fizzling out and becoming a non-event. But still I live in hope of seeing not one, but quite possibly TWO comets in the sky in mid-late May.

Comet Information
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by caprice
ohhhh--thanks so much Amber for telling us about this! Hopefully, we won't be having all the rain that week that we've been having this week!
Your welcome! I agree! It's been raining here like crazy! It would really be ashame if it did that week too.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by a_loveless_gem
Well, do you know about the comets that could be visible to the naked eye that are due late April/early May?
Cool! I didnt know about that yet! Thanks for sharing. I havent seen a coment since I was about 8 years old. I forgot the name of that one. It was so pretty!
post #11 of 17
Ok guys, just found out more stuff!!

And I'm gonna love 2004 for startgazing events!!

There will be a total eclipse of the moon on May 5 2004.

Also in May the Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be in the sky together.

There will be a blue moon on August 30 2004. And we only just had two of them two years ago. (I think!)

And a whole lot more events found at this site including an occultation in two days!! Though I'm not sure whether you will be able to see this over in USA.

Mira - Southern Sky Watch 2004
post #12 of 17
Total eclipse? Where is it going to be seen? I have checked all the facts for the caribbean and haven't found it.
post #13 of 17
I love the sky it is soooo awesome! Did you know that our sun is a medium sized star? It is 96,000,000 million miles away from our earth, just the perfect distance to support life here on earth. Did you know that if we could travel at the speed of light that we could circle our earth 8 times in a second? But even at that rate of speed it would take 100,000 years to cross our milky way galaxy? And it is only a medium sized galaxy! Mind boggling isn't it? Did you also know there are billions of galaxies out there, with trillions of stars each? This is a fun topic, I love that you guys are bringing it up. Thanks for sharing that info, I'll definitely keep on the watch. Another fun outer space site I go to, is called hubblesite.org., it has cool backgrounds you can download for your computer, and games and cool info. Oh and by the way, Gothic Amethyst, I thank you for your help with the avatars, it worked. I forgot to tell you thanks before. bye fellow stargazers.. hootiecat
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

I love all the statistics! It's really cool to learn that stuff and helps remind us how small we are! You're welcome. I had hoped someone would be interested! Ooo I'll go to that site. Sounds neat! You're welcome! I'm glad I could help
post #15 of 17
Originally posted by a_loveless_gem
There will be a total eclipse of the moon on May 5 2004.
Are you sure that's not a Total eclipse of the heart? Ok Ok I know bad joke!

I love looking at the stars, I know absolutey nadda about them but they're still cool! Neat thread.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

It's cool cause your looking at totally different ones then I see at night! That's one of the things that always amaze me...the are soooooo many stars in my hemisphere and then tons in another!
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Here's another article. This one was on the homepage of my compuserve service today:

Look Up! Rare Sight Visible in Dusk Sky

The heavens are putting on a parade at dusk from now until the end of March, and you can watch this rare sight with your naked eyes. No telescope required. The five planets--Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter--are now visible in what appears as a straight line all at the same time.

Nature News Service gives these instructions to view the rare display from the Northern Hemisphere: Face south shortly after dusk. Jupiter lies to the east, below the constellation of Leo. Saturn is next to Gemini in the south, Mars and Venus straddle the Pleiades in the west, and Mercury lies below them, close to the horizon. The brightest star-like point in the dusk sky is Venus, which will appear white. Mercury and Jupiter will also be white, but fainter than Venus. Mars is orange-red, and Saturn will look pale yellow.

This simultaneous display occurs once every few years when all five planets are on the same side of the sun, but visibility is especially good this time because of the distance of each planet. In fact, Nature News says the planetary parade may not be this clear again for another 30 years. If you want to view the other three planets--Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto--you'll need a telescope.
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