Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Venus and Jupiter are Alright Tonight

Earlier this evening, Bob pinged me. "Go look at the moon!" I went outside, and enjoyed the slight child (by Florida standards). I still have to orient myself as to where things are in the night sky here, but I soon looked west at a beautiful crescent moon.

Below it, two very bright stars. Well, they might look like stars, but I remembered my nightly drive home from work when Ed and I lived just outside the DC Beltway. Many a night, I'd be listening to Stardate on NPR and driving through the USDA Agricultural Studies facility in Beltsville.

It was probably the best place to be in the DC metro area if you wanted to stargaze. I remembered December broadcasts of years ago. Sandy Wood said the two bright bodies weren't stars at all, rather, they were Venus and Jupiter. (Sorry Bob, I had the song in my head, thinking Venus and Mars)

Yes, I'm an astronomy junkie. I can't name many of those constellations, maybe a dozen. But I can always find you Orion-even when standing in a city with way too much light polluting the atmosphere. The enjoyment of viewing the night sky started with all those planetarium trips, but the four years living on top of a mountain sealed the deal for me.

Three miles out of a one horse town, 30 miles from the county seat (then not so big, now a little bigger), 100 miles from either DC or Baltimore, over 100 miles from Pittsburgh, you can see A LOT of stars at night. You can even see that haze of the Milky Way. In the spring and fall, you might have found me out in the yard on a blanket or in the hammock, staring up at that sky. It was so...pretty.

Do me a favor tonight, please? Go take a look at the moon and two of those other rocks that orbit the sun. It's a pretty sight.

5 People talked back:

ligirl said...

I saw that!!! That crescent moon and those two bright bodies...I figured they HAD to be planets, but I wasn't certain which ones. BTW...has anyone seen those tools that got away? (Tee hee)

songbird's crazy world said...

I love stargazing.

Suzanne, you may be a bit jealous when I tell you -- High School East has a real planetarium, and all the kids in the elementary schools go to the high school on a regular basis to use the planetarium. I spent many hours stargazing in there when I was growing up, and so did my daughters. I can identify the Big dipper, the Little Dipper and Orion's Belt, and if you tell me to look for a specific star or planet at a specific time and location, I can probably find it.

Joyce-Anne said...

Just so you know, there's another astromoner in the waiting, Nicole. She's always looking up at the stars and frequently commenting on which phase of the moon we're in. She noticed the planets and moon last night too. :)

Off to take care of the laundry...

Suzanne said...

Donna, Do you think that's what they based the flag on? It would figure that it would be the December sky.

SB, I had no idea they had one. I loved going out to the Vanderbilt every once in a while.

When I go back to school, if I need another science, it will be Astronomy. Proof I'm the weird one in the family-I love dirt and stars.

Joe said...

B man and the rest of your favorite guys in the "WB" NY checked them out last night. It was too cloudy to see the Sagitarius constellation,maybe tonight.