Planets

Half Moon

Half Moon

I loaded a program on my iPod called “Planets.”  I entered my longitude and latitude and now it shows me the position of planets in the sky.  It also shows the moon. It provides rise and set times for them, as well as the sun. It has been pretty handy.  I check it in the morning when I head out for a run.  It is dark at that time and I get to see what is still out.  I also check it in the evening.  Even if it is cloudy I tend to look to find out what I am missing.

Lately at night, just before bed, my son has been keen to see it.  He wants to see what planets are out there.  That is great itself, but the thing I love is that he wants to really see them. This little electronic gizmo is just a tool.  He wants to try to find the planets.  He wants to see the moon.  Tonight he ran to the window and pointed.  “I see it,” he shouted.  “I see Jupiter!” He was excited.  He was pretty fired up last night as well.  He has been loving exploring the night sky. That makes me happy, as a parent and as a human being. If he can learn to love the world around him, especially at night, both he and the world will be better off.

Lately, Jupiter has been the planet to spot.  Mornings, I can see Mars and Venus, but my boy isn’t typically up when they show themselves.  He can see the moon, however, and he has been enjoying watching it grow these past few nights.  “A half moon!” he spouted when he saw it tonight.  Good stuff.

Sky Show

I wish I had a good image of it, but I was not in a position to take photos. Plus, I didn’t have a camera. I had been hearing for a couple of days how tonight would provide a good show if things worked out right. Jupiter, Venus and the crescent moon are in conjunction, which really means they are all close together.

I drove home from South Burlington and heard this again on Vermont Public Radio‘s Eye on the Night Sky. I looked and was disappointed to see clouds covering the entire sky, at least from my narrow viewpoint. But once I was in Shelburne and my view was broader, I looked up again.

The clouds had one hole in them and right in that hole was what I was seeking. The skinny moon hung there with two bright planets accompanying it to the right, like ushers. It lasted for a few minutes before the clouds starting moving back in, and the show was over. It was quite a sight.