Have you heard about Liberty Science Center's Mars Madness event yet? The night of July 27, we're throwing a special celebration (all ages welcome!) and breaking out the telescopes for this rare astronomical event when Mars shines brighter in the sky than it has in the last 15 years.
But Mars isn't the only planet that will be visible in the sky this summer. Through the end of August, you can get glimpses at Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn, and through mid-July, you can get a look at the elusive Mercury.
Here are some tips on spotting these four planets this summer:
The brightest planet in our solar system, Venus will shine in the west (about 1/4 of the way up the western sky) through the end of August. To help with orientation, the compass function on your phone can point you in the right direction of where to look. Venus will look as brilliant as an airplane's landing lights, but don't confuse it for a plane!
Jupiter will be visible in the south, about 1/3 of the way up the southern sky. At minus 2.2 magnitude (a system set up to designate bright objects), Jupiter is six times dimmer than Venus, but still brighter than any star.
The best night to locate Mercury this summer is July 14 (it will be lost in the sun toward the end of the month). That night at around 9:00 pm EST, look for the very slender crescent Moon. Venus will be above the Moon, and just below the Moon (less than the width of your pinky finger at arm's length) will be Mercury.
Saturn is dimmer than some of the other planets, but it's still easy to spot. Located in the southern part of the sky, Saturn can be located by first identifying Jupiter. The Ringed Planet is located to the left of Jupiter.
Interested in learning more? We're currently covering this topic in our all-live planetarium show, Wonders of the Night Sky, as part of our LSC Space News Now breaking news section of the show. Click here to explore all the shows currently playing in our Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium and LSC Giant Dome Theater.
And of course, don't miss our Mars Madness celebration on the night of July 27! Join us for this special evening with activities, shows, and more, all in celebration of the Red Planet. Click here for tickets.