Earth’s Neighbourhood Sunset Party!
Just after sunset on Saturday 21st February 2015, three of Earth’s nearest neighbours will appear close to each other on the western horizon.
The crescent Moon will be two days old and will appear as a slim crescent low in the west.
To the left of the crescent Moon will be bright, star-like Venus. Look closely and you’ll see red coloured Mars to the right of Venus. Venus is the brighter of the two planets.
It should be dark enough by about 7.15pm to see the beautiful trio.
When you’re gazing at Earth’s nearest neighbours, think about the space missions that have been exploring these worlds recently.
The European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft orbited Venus for eight years. The mission conducted a study of the atmosphere and the planet itself. In November last year the spacecraft exhausted its propellant and lost altitude and then contact.
NASA’s Curiosity spacecraft has been roving Mars since 6 August 2012. One of the most important discoveries made is that Mars could have the right chemistry to have supported living microorganisms.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter arrived on the Moon in June 2009 and has been busy mapping and studying our natural satellite.
For more stargazing tips visit StargazersClub WA
Carol Redford (aka “Galaxy Girl”)
Carol Redford (aka “Galaxy Girl”) is an accidental stargazer! Carol has a Bachelor of Arts and a post graduate degree in business marketing. After a decade of international travel and work, she returned to regional WA in 1999 and purchased the local Gingin Observatory business. Along with a business partner, she ran the Observatory for five years before selling it in 2012. Carol’s passion for astronomy science communication continues with Stargazers Club WA and she is currently the Chair of WA’s astronomy and space science community, Astronomy WA.