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Gathering of Planets: A summer update from the Buffalo State College Planetarium

by jmaloni
Thu, Aug 5th 2010 01:25 pm
The early evening sky is becoming a very busy place. Through Aug. 20, Venus, Mars and Saturn will align in what is believed to be the same triangular grouping that formed the Star of Bethlehem. This grouping is known as a triple conjunction.

This awe-inspiring planetary grouping will be discussed as part of The View from Buffalo program, playing Friday nights at 8:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2:30 p.m., at the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium at Buffalo State College. Admission is $6 per person. The grouping will be seen during special observation sessions held prior to and following the evening show. There is no admission fee for the observations.

The three planets will be closely clustered in the sky with their closest approach to each other on Aug. 6. Venus, the bright object in the Western sky, can be seen with the naked eye, but a telescope or pair of binoculars is recommended to see Mars and Saturn. Viewers must find an unobstructed western horizon, as this grouping will occur below most residential tree lines and suburban development. Also, moving to a darker sky location will aid viewing.

The busy sky continues in August as the annual Perseid meteor shower peaks on the evening of Aug. 12 into the morning of Aug. 13 under a moonless sky.

For more information about these sky events and upcoming programs at the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium at Buffalo State College, call 878-4911 or go online at www.fergusonplanetarium.net.

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