Five planets to star in sky show for rest of month

Residents will share in another astronomical show this week when all five of the visible planets will appear together in the morning sky.

The solar system’s planet might be a bit old hat these days as scientists keep reporting on the discovery of more and more exoplanets, meaning worlds traveling around other suns. And they may be great distances away.

Planetary interest may be heightened by the popularity of the newest version of “Robinson Crusoe.” That is the Matt Damon movie, “The Martian,” that chronicles the survival of an astronaut trapped on Mars.

Not everyone can find Mars in the sky, but nearly all can spot Venus, the brightest planet that can be the morning or evening star, depending on the season. The others

frequently are hidden by clouds or city lights in much of Costa Rica.

That was not always the case, and the average pre-Columbian inhabitant probably knew more about the night sky than most persons living today, although they endowed the celestial bodies with god-like qualities.

It was Galileo who first saw that the moons of Jupiter could be used to tell the time anywhere in the world. He compiled a lot of data. That idea later was refined by Giovanni Domenico Cassini. That was important for determining longitude in the days when adequate clocks did not exist.

The space show will be in the sky all month. Just before dawn, viewers can see Mercury just above the horizon with bright Venus just above. Even higher will be Saturn, Mars and Jupiter.  A good summary of  the event is HERE!

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