Star gazing is a wonderful part of camping. If you are camping this month, you may also do a little planet gazing. Venus and Jupiter are very visible in the night sky throughout the month of March. Right now, they are more noticeable than they have been in two years. And they are visible to the naked eye.
Not only can you see Venus (the brightest planet) and Jupiter (the second brightest planet), but you can also see Mars, the red planet. Mars actually looks red in the sky. How cool is that?
How do you find these planets?
Venus- Right after dark, look west. Venus is the brightest planet in the sky.
Jupiter- Found near Venus. Also, in the west. Jupiter is the second brightest planet.
Mars- Found in the east. After you find Venus and Jupiter, turn around and look behind you in the east sky. Mars is a faint red dot in the sky.
Star gazing is typically easier when you are camping. You are away from the lights of the cities and away from buildings. But if you are not camping this month, you can still probably see the planets. Just try to find a place where your view of the horizon is least obstructed. And obviously, planets and stars are easier to visualize on a clear night.
Every night for the past week, my kids and I have been planet gazing. Venus and Jupiter have been very easy to find. Mars was only visible to us one night last week, due to cloud cover. The photos were taken last Wednesday night. They give you an idea of what you will be seeing. We’ve really enjoyed viewing these planets. Have you had the opportunity to check out these planets yet?
I’ll see ya around the campfire.
For more information about viewing these planets, go to earthsky.org.