30 May 2007

Evening Planets / Blue Moon

I spent last week at the Live Power Farm in Covelo with the 3rd grade. The sky there was clear and beautiful and we had two opportunities to meet with the kids to look at the darkening sky. At around 9:00 pm, the evening sky was filled with a parade of planets, something still visible this week as well featuring Mercury and Venus. To see this you will need a clear view of the western horizon over the next many days. The 3rd grade experienced this view and was able to see the changing position of Venus over the three evenings we were there.

Venus is moving quickly across the evening sky so if you view it on successive evenings, you will notice it moving up and to the left compared to the two twin stars in Gemini, Castor and Pollux. Further up and to the left of Venus is Saturn, currently located in the constellation Leo.

The Moon is full on May 31st, the second full moon of May for us in the western hemisphere. This unusual situation takes place infrequently and is known as a "Blue Moon." The exact time of the full moon on May 31st is 6:00 pm in California, when it is already June in Europe and Asia.Therefore, the eastern hemisphere will end up having two full moons in June. The result? We have a Blue Moon in May in North and South America, and the rest of the world gets a Blue Moon in late June. That is truly a "once in two blue moons" situation!

No comments: