Attention Sky Watchers: Mars Visible August 29th 2009

Hello Sky Wachers!

There will be a First Quarter Moon on Thursday the 27th this week and on the 27th and 28th the Moon passes by the red super giant star Antares.

For all the night owls out there tune into NASA TV late Monday the 24th (it will be after midnight so it’s officially Tuesday am) to watch the Space Shuttle take off. Tune in at about 1:00 am EDT (or even earlier) to see all the pre-launch activities. You can also watch from your computer on NASA TV for the Internet.

If you are in Florida and within viewable range of the Shuttle’s flight path from the Kennedy Space Center, try to go outside and see it live! Launch is scheduled for 1:36 am EDT. So far it’s a ‘go’ for tonight’s launch as the weather looks good for that time frame. The launch team, however, is closely monitoring some lightning activity in the area, which they hope won’t interfere with final launch inspections.

On Wednesday the 26th from 10:20 pm to 1:12 am EDT, the shadows of Ganymede and Europa, two of Jupiter’s moons, will be cast on the planet’s face. They should be visible with binoculars or a telescope. Also, from 9:58 pm to 12:35 am EDT Jupiter will appear to only have one moon, Callisto.

For our early risers there will be a great sight on Saturday morning the 29th at the beginning of dawn. With binoculars or a telescope you will be able to see M35, an open cluster of stars just one degree left of planet Mars high on the eastern sky.

If you remember the Teapot from last week’s sky events, this week you’ll be able to see a Waxing Gibbous Moon shine near the top of it on Saturday the 29th.

Our visible planets this week: Mercury and Saturn are just above the horizon at twilight this week; you could try and find them with binoculars about half an hour after sunset. Venus is bright in the eastern sky at dawn and Mars is high to its upper right. Jupiter remains highly visible all night, coming up right after sunset.

Look on up and smile!

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