This is a great week to wake your children early and peer into the sky. Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter are visible to the naked eye. Binoculars or a small telescope will allow you to see Uranus and Neptune. Any camera with a telephoto lens should be able to capture all 6 at once.
For the last two months, almost all the planets have been hiding behind the sun, but this week they all emerge and are arrayed in a grand line above the rising sun.
[Source, LiveScience, Six Planets Now Aligned in the Dawn Sky by Geoff Gaherty]
Picture credit: Starry Night Software. Picture borrowed from LiveScience
Inspire your children. Awe them with the wonders of the universe. Arise early. Hear the birds. See the planets.
If you get confused looking at objects in the sky, consider the iPhone/iPad app "GoSkyWatch" It is undeniably one of my favorite applications. I spent most of my life with astronomy books unsure if I was correctly identifying objects in the sky. GoSkyWatch removes all doubt, adds factoids, and makes star gazing so much more fun. [Link to app]
I have been working a project that no person in their right mind would have accepted, particularly at the pittance of the budget alloted. It is a train wreck but today, after several hours of feeling like I was trying to fill the ocean with sand from the beach, I felt the train was back on the track! The client is in a timezone 7 hours ahead of me so I have to work furiously to have this done for their opening business day. Then I had a meeting to help the boy scouts plan for a high adventure trip next summer. During the meeting, at 4:30pm on a Sunday, I get a message that another parent has called my wife to consult on the 3-D solar system project that he knows all parents have probably been working so furiously on for the whole weekend (or longer). Solar system project?! To be built to scale! And with excellent report attached.
So, a pot of coffee brews as I tear the house up looking for objects that are to scale (a trip to AC Moore for Styrofoam would have been nice!) and watch the business day in my client’s timezone come ever so much nearer. Let’s go upstairs and figure out just what the world revolves around.