Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday's Observations

The weather has been spectacularly clear here in the Midwest since we arrived - 3 days in a row! This winter it has been hard to get much more than 1 day in a row in the desert Southwest. In fact, this is the first time I've spotted Venus in the western sky since our California excursion a couple weeks ago. Here is is shown just over our treeline to the west, just above a half dozen Canada Geese coming in to land in the Fox River (click to enlarge). Venus will be getting farther from the sun (ie, higher and more visible in the twilight) and getting brighter and will be very obvious through the Spring into Summer, so keep an eye out for it.

Also visible for us in the Midwest was a good appearance of the International Space Station (ISS). From our perspective tonight it traveled right through the constellation Orion, so was easy to spot, even though twilight was still strong. This is a couple second exposure of it passing the 3 belt stars of Orion, with the faint mist of the Orion Nebula among the sword stars below. For our readers in the Midwest, there is another good pass of the ISS tomorrow (Saturday) evening in the western sky, about 6:45 local time. Enter your city in the Heavens Above website for details of this and future satellite appearances. Keep watching the skies!

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