Friday, 06 April 2012 12:08

Planets put on a show in the evening sky

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As soon as the sun goes down, four planets are putting on a show for all to see.

Wait about 30 minutes after sun-down for the sky to darken.

A little above and to the right of where the sun set, you'll see Venus - the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon.

Look a little lower and to the left of Venus, closer to the sunset and Jupiter is also visible, shining white in the after-sun reddish glow.

Off to the north east, and about half-way between the horizon and directly overhead, the bright red object is Mars.

Finally, just rising as the Sun sets, we find Saturn - this may be seen due east (opposite direction to the sunset) for observers in Melbourne.

Tonight, the Moon will be a little above and to the left of Saturn, but tomorrow (Saturday) both objects will be very close.

The only planet normally visible to the naked eye not included in this vista is Mercury (the planet closest to the Sun) which is currently rising in the east about two hours before the Sun.

For those interested, the other planets (Uranus and Neptune) are also in the morning sky forming a straight line rising above the Sun - Uranus between the Sun and Mercury and Neptune higher in the sky above the other three objects.

iTWire recommends readers obtain a computer-based star-viewing package to gain a better understanding of the night skies.  We use Stellarium which is available for Windows, Mac OS, and as a source package for Linux.

 

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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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