Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Heads Up - Triple Planet Alert!

Pipeline Map Earlier this week a helpful reader- let’s call him “Enel”- gave me a heads-up on the current excellent triple viewing opportunity of Venus, Mercury and Saturn just before dawn. This morning, while pre-dawn night-riding Pipeline Trail in Mill Creek Canyon, I sighted all three easily, and the view is outstanding. Tomorrow it’ll be just as good, and even a bit more interesting, as Mercury and Saturn will be less than 1 degree apart.

MC Trail Dawn 10 7 09 Unfortunately, I won’t have time to post about the supreme coolness of the view and the planets involved until later tonight. So here’s the plan: In this post I’ll include the helpful link Enel sent me. Then tonight, I’ll hopefully do a fuller post that will describe in detail the planets in question and where/how to best see them. I’ll aim to get that post up tonight or in the wee hours of tomorrow AM, so that you can wake up, read the post, and go check out the planets.

Crappy Venus Shot 10 7 09 But here’s the deal: to see these guys, you need an unobstructed view of the Eastern horizon approximately 45 minutes prior to sunrise. Here in Salt Lake, that means 2 things:

1-If you live on the East side of Salt Lake or Utah Valley, you may well not be able to see it from your house. So you have to go somewhere. (I’ll probably drive up to Little Mtn Pass at the top of Emigration to try to check out Saturn’s rings through my scope.)

2- You have to be “there”- wherever “there” is- at 6:30AM. Peak viewing this morning was 6:30-6:35AM MDT. By 6:55 – 7:00AM the dawn light washed out Mercury and Saturn. If you live elsewhere, you need to adjust your times based on where you sit in your time zone. So a viewer in Denver for example would need to adjust these times ~ 30 minutes earlier.

OK, here’s the link. I’ll do my best to get the post up in time, but no promises*.

*Because, although I know it doesn’t seem like it, I actually do have a life- complete with family, job, social life and various obligations- outside of this project.

Special thanks to Enel- I’m adding you to the elite, select group of readers/commenters who will one day receive a Fabulous Prize*.

*No, I have no idea what it will be or when I will come up with it. But I am determined that it will be both Utterly Fabulous and Fundamentally Life-Altering.

1 comment:

Enel said...

I slept in and missed it today!

I have only seen Mercury twice, both times as sunset. It can be a bugger to spot.