Thursday, January 28, 2016

five planet alignment

Woke early and got out of bed at 6:00am.  To my surprise it was still clear although some clouds beginning to move in from the west, and plenty of haze near the horizons.  But I went out into the cold with binoculars.  Jupiter was easy, in the same spot as last night, but the moon had moved from the west of Jupiter yesterday to the east of it this morning.  Mars nice and red.  Saturn gave me a little trouble.  At first I thought it was the reddish star more to the west, until I realized I was looking at Antares, in Scorpius.  Then I saw it further to the east, small and creamy yellow.  Venus was obvious, dazzling.  Mercury was more of a problem.  I had to stand on the low retaining wall at the west end of the yard, and peer between trees and rooflines.  I caught a glimpse of a bright orange light low to the horizon, but I soon realized this was the communication tower light on top of Monument Peak.  Shifting my position and scanning a bit further up and west, I saw the small planet in line with Saturn-Venus, along with another star I remember seeing from the finder.  Done.

I swept the area from the Big Dipper's handle through Draco looking for Catalina.  I think I found it, but without my finder chart I can't be sure.  I saw a small hazy glow about where it ought to be, beyond where M101 should be -- and I can't have seen M101, the sky was not transparent.  Boy, that sucker has moved from where I saw it in Virgo last month.  Arcturus was very far to the west; it used to be over my eastern neighbor's roof.

If I was smart I would have started making coffee before going out.  But here I am typing, waiting for the coffee...

No comments:

Post a Comment