Here is something very cool for all of you to enjoy for free!
THE GREAT NAKED-EYE PLANET SHOW: The mainstream media is buzzing with news about astronomy: From now until Feb. 20th, anyone who wakes up before sunrise can see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter all at once, no telescope required. These are the five brightest planets, and they are a beautiful sight lined up from east to west in the predawn sky. [Is that not cool? And since in the Northern Hemisphere dawn still comes fairly late, this shouldn’t be to hard to see for many of you readers and your wee bearn.]
Although the planets can be seen any morning for the next 4 weeks, there are some dates of special interest. [Pay attention!] As January ends and February unfolds, the Moon will hop from planet to planet, acting as a can’t-miss guide for novice sky watchers. The action begins on Jan. 27th when the waning full Moon passes less than 5o from Jupiter: sky map. Next, on Feb. 1st, the half Moon is only a few degrees from the red planet Mars in the constellation Libra: sky map. Two mornings later, on Feb. 3rd, a fat crescent Moon passes by Saturn, only a few degrees away: sky map. And finally, best of all, on Feb. 6th, the slender cresent Moon forms a lovely triangle with Venus and Mercury just ahead of the morning twilight: sky map.
Circle these dates on your calendar–and set your alarm for dawn. The Great Naked-eye Planet Show is a great way to start the day.