>http://www.skyandtelescope.com /This weeks sky at a glance<.
The attachment shows the Sun setting followed closely by Saturn then Mercury and Venus so close together they could be viewed as one, then followed by Mars. Well he’s excited at the prospect that he suggested we run out to Lands End to view the celestial event.
I had to ask him did he have the telescope with him? He says no and I think about it for a moment but tell him to pick me up because it’s already nearly 6 pm. And not to worry I’ll rummage for some binoculars in one of the storage bins. Oh yes, I found a set of Eight power & Ten power, which means the magnification of eight times or ten.
Which you can read on the binoculars as 10x50 which means they magnify at ten times with an objective lens of 50mm, the bigger the objective lens the more light, great for viewing the stars. Just don’t look at the moon or you’ll be seeing spots and lose your night vision for about ten minutes.
After finding the lenses I search for a warm coat and hat, experience tells me to dress warmly. The first rule amateur astronomers learn is it gets cold after dark, you best believe it.
So I’m standing out in front of my apartment building when he pulls up in his Honda mobile and we race to the ocean. Heading to this location just above the Cliff House and next to Sutro Park. Arriving in time to see the Sun set into a low marine layer that obscures the horizon, it’s patchy at best. But since where out here where pulling out the optics to view the skies, and hope for the best.
Aside from the grumbling about the haze we can see Venus although Ralph argues it’s Saturn, then revises his opinion that it should be higher. I’m puzzled and ask, “did you look at the attachment I sent you?” He’s starting to confuse me also and my teeth are starting to chatter.
Turns out we could see Venus & Mercury together and the faint object to it’s left turned out to be Mars. Seems that Saturn was closer to the horizon and well into the marine layer. I was suggesting we come back out Saturday when the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers have scheduled a star party to view the heavens. http://www.sfaa-astronomy.org/
At this point he looks up and points out a bright object in the southern skies that looks like a it could be our own moon except it’s a bit on the small side. It turned out to be Jupiter in the constellation of Sagittarius, imagine a tea pot in the sky and that would be Sagittarius pouring hot tea on an upside down question mark. Which would be the tail of Scorpio, you can see with the unaided eye. But it looks great magnified as you can pick out the moons, isn’t astronomy fun.
Stay tuned as more developments occur.