AUSTIN (KXAN) – If you love stargazing, this month has some great opportunities to see the planets in action.
According to Lara Eakins, coordinator of the public awareness program in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas, “this is not a spectacular thing happening. But there’s a good chance you’ll see some of the regular patterns that occur throughout the year.
Planet Palooza! When 5 planets will be visible in the night sky
One of the most beautiful things you can see this month is Venus and Jupiter in a dance.
“Anyone who has been looking for the past few weeks will probably notice that there were two bright low-lying objects in the west after dark, and they gradually switched places.”
According to Eakins, in recent weeks Jupiter was the highest bright object and Venus was the lowest. Now the two objects have switched places, with Jupiter approaching the horizon.
The moon will soon pass these two planets in the sky. “On the evening of Wednesday March 22, shortly after sunset, you may be able to capture a very thin crescent moon just above Jupiter.” The moon will then pass by Venus.
Jupiter is actually about to fade into the night sky, but you’ll be able to see it in the early morning.
“What Jupiter does in the next week or two is actually going behind the sun from Earth’s point of view. So we won’t be able to see it in our skies at all, because it would be too close to the sun. But then, gradually, you’ll start to see it emerge in the morning skies,” Eakins said.
Eakins said Mercury has recently done this, but because it’s so small and close to the sun, the planet is hard to see.
Mars and the red stars
Another interesting object that you can see in the night sky is Mars. “(it) is still overhead right at sunset.”
Eakins said Mars and two orange stars, Betelgeuse and Aldebaran, are forming a triangle in the sky directly above us. Betelgeuse can be located near the constellation Orion, easily spotted by looking for its belt, which is made up of three stars.
“The other is the star Aldebaran, on which it is located in the constellation Taurus. And it’s part of a V shape of stars. Mars will be the easiest to spot, as it is a more vibrant shade of red.