If you are not quite sure which of those stars is Mars, or where to look
for swift Mercury, or your smart phone with Google Sky has a dead
battery, then this month's What's Up podcast will help you out. It'll
also show you why some Mars Oppositions are closer than others and
provide some moon-near-planets or planets-near-planets guideposts.
This month I added some downloadable planet finding charts, a calendar,
and a Mars Opposition graphic. You can find all these on the Solar
System Exploration website here right below the video formats.
Good dates to catch a planet (or two)
* March 3 is Mars Opposition. It'll rise at sunset, set near dawn,
and you'll have good views for many months!
* March 5 Mercury below Jupiter and Venus (its highest altitude)
* March 7 Moon and Mars
* March 12 and 13, Venus passes Jupiter (watch them switch places over
the next two weeks - Venus is the brighter of the two)
* March 25 Moon next to Jupiter
* March 26 Moon next to Venus
We'll have 2 telescopes out on busy Colorado Blvd, weather permitting
tomorrow night (Saturday March 3, since we were weathered out last
Friday night) Look for our man-sized telescopes somewhere along
Colorado between Fair Oaks and Pasadena Avenues, where we find a
curbside parking spot. Stop by and have a look at Jupiter, the moon, and
Venus, and we'll point out Mars (at opposition) to you.
Mark your calendar for May 19 - we'll hold a public star party in Mojave
National Preserve's Black Canyon Group Campsite on that night. Free
camping, RSVP required. Dark skies - darker than you've ever seen, I
bet. Let us know if you are interested, we'll get you the directions
and who to call for a campsite RSVP - potluck dinner before dark, lots
of rangers, interpretive staff attend. Great event!
This weekend is an interesting Mars in the Mojave Festival (March 9-12)
at Death Valley National Park
We may be there for a few of the events (hikes, great talks and panel
Jane Houston Jones
What's Up For March: Amazing planetary views all month