Saturn and Earth. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Fantastic Saturn Struts His Stuff At Opposition

We’re in the middle of a planet Renaissance. Look up any evening and you’ll see Jupiter over in the southwest and the bright eye of Mars clearing the treetops in the southeast. And now nosing into the scene a fist to the left of Red Planet — Saturn! How fortunate to have so many bright planets to…
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Mars Moon Saturn Antares May 21_2016_S_FEA

Mars Diamond, What A Sight! / That Giant Sunspot

Last night late, the Full Moon, Mars, Saturn and Antares aligned in a diamond over my front yard. I’ll bet you saw it, too. The figure measured 12° wide and 9° deep and made walking the dog more illuminating than usual. The diamond was a one-night-only affair as the moon is never still. Tonight, you’ll…
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May 21 Mars. Credit: Created with Meridian software by Claude Duplessis

What Will Your Telescope Show On Mars?

Yesterday, we explored Mars with the naked eye. Today, we’ll point a telescope at it. For observers in the northern hemisphere, Mars remains low in the sky throughout its current apparition, never climbing more than a few fists above the southern horizon. Because we view the planet through the bottom of the atmosphere where air turbulence is…
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Hubble photographs Mars on May 12. Credit: NASA/ESA

Mars Is Close, Bright And Awesome

This is it. What we’ve all been waiting for. Mars and Earth will pair up on the same side of the sun Sunday (May 22), putting the two planets closer to one another than anytime in the past 10 years. The special event is called an opposition because Mars lies directly opposite the sun in the…
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ISS Milky WayS_FEA

Can Astronauts See Stars From The Space Station? The Moon?

An astronaut on board the International Space Station (ISS) took this wide-angle photograph of Earth’s night lights while looking out over the remote reaches of the central equatorial Pacific Ocean.  At the time, the ISS was passing over the island nation of Kiribati about 1,600 miles (2600 kilometers) south of Hawaii. In this view, we look in…
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