Tuesday morning at dawn look for Venus close in on Spica, the lead star of the constellation Virgo. The pair will be about 7 full Moon disks apart making it quite an impressive sight in the low eastern sky. There isn’t even a need for binoculars – the unaided eye is the best way to enjoy this celestial show. Kinda cool to think about is that Venus is 240 million km away.
That means the reflected sunlight off the planet’s cloud-tops takes about 13 minutes to reach us here on Earth . Meanwhile Spica sits at a whopping 263 light years away, meaning we see it as it as it was over 2 and half centuries ago.
So when you look at Spica tomorrow morning its light left on its journey in 1746, the year when College of New Jersey was founded – later became known as Princeton University. something cool to think about when looking up!
Space News Extra: Looks like the little Spirit rover which has now been wheeling around on Mars for nearly 6 year is having a lot of problems. First off it has been stuck in a sand bank for many months and now its computer brain seems to be suffering from recurring bouts of amnesia. Could the intrepid rover’s life be near its end? Check out the full story on the latest tribulations of this plucky little martian robot here.
Tags: Spica, Venus, Virgo
Posted in Constellations, Planets, Solar System, Stargazing, stars | 199 Comments »