|Venus over Jupiter…& Mars|
I’m so excited right now. I just saw Venus, Jupiter, and Mars in the night sky today. I’m pumped and humbled! Whenever I’m shown the glory of this universe I realize how lucky I am to be afforded the opportunity to share in it. Imagine that someone else somewhere else on earth might also be staring at the same body in the night sky. God is Great indeed!
It’s been glorious weather lately and I’ve been out walking along the local trail by the lake in the late afternoon/early evening and staying out with friends until well after sunset. For days I’ve been haunted by these two “stars” blazing away bright as day in the night sky. Immediately I assumed they were planets and assumed the brightest one was Venus. But that was the extent of my curiosity…until tonight.
Tonight, I finally whipped out my iPhone and used the StarWalk and SkySafari3 apps to identify these “stars”. Well, my introduction to astronomy at the Grand Canyon really stuck because I was right, they were planets and the brightest was indeed Venus. The apps both identified the other “star” as Jupiter which I found hard to believe, hence the reason for using multiple apps. So I found Cassiopeia with my naked eye while my friend located Orion’s belt, and yep our apps were telling us that that other bright star was Jupiter. By Jove!
Pumped, we begun to look 360 degrees all around us and located a reddish star directly opposite these two. That must be Mars then I said, recalling vaguely that we were to be able to see Venus and Mars this month. This time I searched for Mars in the StarWalk app while still looking at Venus/Jupiter and let the app’s arrow and bullseye locator confirm my suspicion. That app is great.
How cool is that?! Venus, Jupiter, and Mars all in one night! I’m thinking I’m extra lucky.
So of course I come home and what is the first thing I look up online? Venus and Jupiter. And what do I learn? That I missed the best night of the Venus-Jupiter conjuction on March 15th (when the two were closest together) but that this indeed is an awesome sight – the best in years. I learn also that with a little extra effort, I might be able to pick up Mercury and Saturn as well in this one of the best months (March 2012) for star-gazers. Ok, so maybe I’m not so amazing.