Sunday, April 19, 2009

Daytime Astronomy

Great trick: find where an iridium flare will be, make sure you are outside with your partner or friend at the right moment, and 'make it appear'. Say 'watch this', point and listen to the gasp. I did this once. Fun.

Ok, that wasn't during the day. But I suppose it could be done. How do I know?

Back in my earlier days of astronomy, obsessed as I was, I would show my friends things that they didn't expect. Venus is easily spotted when it's at a large elongation (far from the sun as seen from Earth) during the day. Most people just won't believe what they are seeing. Yes, a planet in broad daylight.

But wait, there's more. Sirius. I often find it before sunset to start aligning my telescope. You can find Sirius during the day too. I've even seen Betelgeuse before sunset. You'll need at least setting circles to do this though.

You can, though, see Jupiter during the day fairly easily. But just like Venus and Sirius, you have to know exactly where to look. The first time I saw Jupiter in broad daylight it looked like a balloon. As it probably will today when YOU look at it! I'm making this easy. Ok, I'm not, the alignment is.

Go outside with a pair of binoculars. Find the moon and scan just one degree down or south. That's not a balloon, it's Jupiter.

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