Or, Are the Planets out this Morning?
We are working through Jeanne Fulbright's Exploring Creation with Astronomy right now. We are all really enjoying out time traveling through the solar system.
The past two weeks we learned that, due to their location close to the sun, Mercury and Venus are both visible in the early morning or early evening as they follow the rising and setting of the sun.
Since three of the kids were up early this morning, I was up too. As the sun began to rise, I asked my 8 year old if she wanted to see if we could see the planets. She was very excited so I told her to go get a jacket and some shoes on, quickly, the sun is coming up. She eagerly put on her shoes and a jacket. Her shoes were flip flops and her jacket was a fleece zip up. Not exactly what I meant, but perfectly fine for a quick look at the sky in our 39 degree morning. We live in the desert afterall.
I grabbed the toddler, my 4 year old braved the fierce winter coldness in his bare feet and we went out into our back yard. The sky was beautiful. The moon was shining, crisp and clear midway through the sky. The inky blackness of night was slowiy erasing away as the sun's red and golden hues were creeping higher over the horizon. My 8 year old excitedly pointed up into the sky and said, "Is that Venus?" Almost midway between the horizon and the zenith in the SE portion of the sky were two magnificently shining celestial bodies. Besides the moon, they were the only things left shining in the early morning sky. The suns magnificence had already "turned out" the rest of the lights of the heavens, leaving only these two pin points of light, shining brightly for us to enjoy.
Satisfied with her observation, my 8 year old ran back into the house deciding flip flops weren't the best footwear for winter mornings, even in the desert.
Not being exactly sure of what two planets we were viewing I looked up the Sky at a Glance at Sky and Telescope Magazine's site and discovered we were viewing Venus and Jupiter. My camera is on the fritz right now so I don't have a picture to share with you all. Instead, you will just have to go out early tomorrow morning and witness the beauty of God's creation yourselves.