This interstellar space transmission arrives as your next solar orbit begins. If you are curious about the Universe and its many wonders, you will be enlightened as to events of interest happening out here. Additionally, equipment you may need to enjoy and observe them from there will be recommended.
The organizations known there as the United Nations and the International Astronomical Union have declared 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy. So, get out under the stars and enjoy the wonders of the natural universe every chance you have. Go to www.astronomy2009.org for ongoing information and updates.
1. EARTH DATE 1-14-09: Moon rises with Saturn. The waxing gibbous Moon lies 6 degrees to the right of Saturn as they rise at 2200 local time. Naked eyes or binoculars. Allow a few hours for Saturn to climb near zenith for better telescope views. The ringed planet will appear virtually ringless to you there on Earth due to your current apparent edge on viewing angle to the ring plane. Due to the absence of the rings Saturn’s moons will be more readily apparent.
2. EARTH DATE 1-23-09: Venus/Uranus conjunction. Look to the southwest after sunset as bright Venus lies just 1.4 degrees north of tiny Uranus. Both planets will be visible within the same binocular field of view. Although smaller and dimmer in comparison, Uranus’ blue-greeen disc will appear distinctly non-stellar. While viewing, consider for a moment the distances to these planets from there on Earth. Venus lies 57.7 million miles distant while Uranus is a whopping 1.9 billion miles from you. Binoculars or telescopes with wide field eyepieces required.
3. EARTH DATE 1-29-09: Venus/Moon set. After sunset watch the southwestern sky as the new crescent Moon lies 6 degrees west of Venus. Watch as they ride together until setting in the west. This conjunction is always pleasing to the eye and makes for wonderful photo opportunities; especially when the evening sky has turned a deep azure blue with a remaining hint of light on the horizon.