Table of Contents
Naked-Eye Planetary AstronomyandPlanetary Alignments
“Naked eye” planetary astronomy?
Here’s an outline of topics:
Astronomy was very important in ancient times
Finding recurring patterns in the sky required decades of patient observation
What distinguishes planets from the stars?
The motion of the planets can be very complicated
Retrograde motion was a great mystery to ancient astronomers.
We now have a different view of the universe.
Watching the “Dance of the Planets”
Here are a few fascinating naked-eye projects I’ve engaged in
Computer programs can be used to show how the planets move
Some Skyglobe representations of the night sky will be presented to show how planets move
The next 3 images show how Venus moved relative to Castor and Pollux in late spring 1999.
Photographing the Dance of the Planets
The next two slides show examples of planetary photography.
The right photo shows (from lower right) Mars, Venus, and Jupiter. The left photo is a continuation showing Jupiter and Saturn. The right image shows the ecliptic.
This piggyback photo shows (from lower right) Mars, Venus, Uranus (circled) and Jupiter. Again, the ecliptic is easily discerned.
Here is a series of photographs showing Venus, Mars, and Antares on almost successive nights.
The next group of photos shows Mars looping around the star 76 Vir near Spica (the bright star in the lower right corner) as it began retrograde motion in the late spring of 1999.
As the planets move, they will occasionally be found close together in the sky.
In the late 20th century, more “scientific” explanations have been advanced for disastrous consequences of planetary alignments.
Two famous examples were 1982 and 2000.
The next two slides show Skyglobe representations of these conjunctions
These conjunctions have come and gone...