One of the joys of being outdoors is the gradual transition from day to evening, and finally night. Did you ever wonder how some people can immediately identify Venus or Mars? How do they do it? Mister Alfresco shares his secrets:
- Stars twinkle, whereas planets do not. Planets have a very steady light.
- Planets cross the night sky very similarly to the sun and the moon. Watch your steady light move in a straight line (it only takes a few minutes) and you’ll be watching a planet.
- At sunset, Mercury and Venus will appear near the sun, because they are between the earth and the sun. These two planets will be the first to disappear over the horizon after sunset.
- Mars is easily located due to its reddish color and usually appears after the sun has set completely.
- Jupiter is harder to identify but is significantly bigger than most stars, and again it does not twinkle. Saturn is hard to spot without binoculars or a telescope.
Some more tips – planets will be harder to see near urban areas with light pollution, or if there is a full moon. Try locating planets at sunrise as well.
The International Dark Sky Association has great resources to help people maximize ways to enjoy the cosmos.
Finally, Mr. Alfresc
o says to be careful that your planet isn’t a satellite or the International Space Station!