We should have great views of the moon this weekend and a pretty
triangle comprised of Mars, Saturn and Spica about 30 degrees above the
Tonight we'll be in Old Town Pasadena, somewhere between Fair Oaks and
Pasadena Avenues - we set up where ever we find a parking spot. We'll be
there from about 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 or maybe a little later. We don't
make it to Pasadena as often as we'd like to so we are looking forward
Saturday night Myrtle and Lime Streets in Monrovia - our regular spot
where we've been serving up views of the solar system once a month since
In a little more than a week, Mars gets another visitor. On Sunday
night at 10:31 p.m. Pacific Time, the Mars Science Laboratory mission's
rover named Curiosity lands on the red planet! Tonight at 8 p.m. the
landing site will be right smack in the middle of the planet. We might
be able to see the dark mark indicating Syrtis Major tonight, even tho'
Mars is so very far away, over 150 million miles from Earth, and not
much more than a smudge through the telescope. Nevertheless, we're
looking right at Gale Crater, the soon-to-be home of Curiosity.
If you are interested in following the mission and landing events here's
a couple resources for you:
My own Mars viewing tips pages with a downloadable flyer (at the bottom
of the page) for your own viewing/sharing pleasure is online already.
Our NASA Mars Curiosity Landing Toolkit, with videos, news, images,
where to watch landing, etc is here: We update this page every day!
And my August What's Up podcast about Mars and the Perseid meteor shower
should be available next Wednesday (I hope) Speaking of the Perseids,
Mojo and I will be with other members of the San Jose Astronomical
Society at Glacier Point/Yosemite August 10 and 11. Each summer weekend
(but not full moon weekends) thru Labor Day brings a different Northern
CA astro club to Yosemite for free star parties. We kept our memberships
in several of our Northern California clubs when we moved south in 2003,
mostly so we could attend these events with our telescopes. It's a
membership perk! Mojo will give his Milky Way talk both nights, and all
the park visitors look through an array of 20+ telescopes, and have a
guaranteed perfect Perseid viewing opportunity both nights, with the
peak on Saturday night. If you come, bring layers, a blanket, and
hydration for the altitude. Plan to stay until well past midnight
sitting/lying on the granite steps at the amphitheatre to enjoy the
Perseids with us.
Finally, if you haven't seen Mojo's lovely astrophotography featured in
my July 2012 What's Up video, here it is - it still July, after all.
Other formats and transcripts:
Hope to see you out under the clear skies tonight, or to encourage you
to look up from your own location, or take your telescope out in your
own neighborhood. The one and only Sidewalk Astronomers agenda is to
share the skies through telescopes, with you.
Jane Houston Jones
What's Up Podcast for July: Milky Way, Mars and Saturn
On Youtube: http://is.gd/kPUtSx
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jhjones /CassiniSaturn /otastro
My Blog: http://jane.whiteoaks.com/