Jim Loznicka's Weather and Space Blog

By: Jim Loznicka
By: Jim Loznicka

On Friday, January 29th, the planet Mars will be at its closest approach to Earth since 2003.  In astronomy, this is known as "Opposition" This will make for optimal viewing conditions of the Red Planet.  That is, of course, the weather doesn’t play havoc with the sky cover.   If you a clear sky develops, you literally could view Mars with a very good set of binoculars, or a nice spotting scope.  I would say head to the beach to view Mars, as you will be away from all the city lights splashing up into the sky.  Here is a linked picture, to give you an idea of the alignment of the stars and planet in the sky Friday night. 

Also, the Moon will be in "Perigee" this weekend, or at its closest approach to Earth the entire year!  This will make the moon, at moonrise and the moonset, seem exceptionally larger than normal.  I highly recommend the viewing at both moonrise and moonset, as the colors should be spectacular!  As usual, the beach or open fields away from city lights will provide optimum viewing conditions.

Finally, in the middle of NEXT week, the International Space Station (ISS) will make a high-sky pass over the panhandle.  This will be a pass that will last more than 5 minutes that night.  The ISS usually is visible in overhead about every two weeks, and I have been told that it also can be viewed with a very good set of binoculars or spotting scope!  That is because it is in such close range to the Earth.  In fact, sometimes you can see the actual features of the ISS when the weather conditions are clear overhead.  Here is a link that you can use to plug in your own city/state to find out when the ISS will fly in the sky over you.  

Until next time, I hope these space and weather stories interest you!  If you would like more info, pics, or have other questions, you can email me or check out my own weather blog!

 

 

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