This time of year is best for stargazing. Not only can you get a clearer picture of the constellations, but you can get a solid view of multiple planets. You may have already noticed the bright glowing orbs on the horizon at dusk. The AB Tech Institute for Climate Education tells us how to identify these planets hovering over the Asheville mountains. From the institute:
It’s easy to forget that we live on a rock that is hurling through space in an orbit around our star – but occasionally, we can see reminders of that fact when our fellow planets are beautifully displayed in the sky over our mountains.
This is a great month for sky watchers. The planets are putting on a show in our evening skies and our atmosphere is typically clearer than it is during the summer months thanks to frequent frontal passages that help bring in cleaner and drier air.
The image above was taken last night as Venus and Mercury (along with a few cirrus clouds) were visible to the southwest after sunset. Clouds have increased today (Wed) ahead of an approaching cold front that will hamper viewing tonight, but clearer skies are expected later in the week, and it will be easy to spot Venus as the bright “star” on the southwest horizon after sunset. Mercury is there too, to the lower left of Venus, but you may need to look through binoculars to really see it well.
Have you been wondering what that brilliant evening star in the East is? It’s not a star at all, it’s Jupiter!
Looking to the East just after this past Tuesday night’s sunset, Jupiter was a bright beacon just below the moon. The planet is easy to spot because it is so bright and it remains visible all night as it climbs high in our sky and eventually sets in the west in the early morning hours. Jupiter will be easy to see all month. So, pull out your binoculars or telescope and you’ll even be able to see some of Jupiter’s moons - well worth the effort!
Plan to join us for the Institute for Climate Education’s next free seminar is on Tuesday, December 6th at 6:00 p.m. for a look at The Long Range Winter Forecast for Western North Carolina, presented by Tom Ross, retired NCDC Meteorologist.