Dr. Christopher McKay, planetary scientist with NASA, will discuss the latest findings from the Mars Curiosity Rover and the prospects for finding evidence of life on other worlds. This lively and engaging lecture is designed for the general public. It is presented as part of the Halliday Lecture Series, which promotes public awareness and appreciation for astronomy. Tickets are $3. Go to: santacruztickets.comMars Curiosity rover, planetary scientist, Dr. Christopher McKay <BR/>
A STRANGE light spotted on the western horizon of the Fraser Coast on Monday evening is most likely a planetary alignment that will not happen again until 2026, say Hervey Bay astronomy enthusiasts.
Joe Mather, president of the Hervey Bay Astronomical Society, said members had agreed it was highly likely what people saw was the alignment of Jupiter, Mercury and Venus.
“For over a month, Jupiter has slowly moved across our night skies to join Venus and Mercury on our western horizon,” Mr Mather said.
“It’s not often they align like that. It’s an event that won’t be repeated until 2026.”
Mr Mather said the reflection of the sun, combined with the weather conditions, would have made the planets appear as a bright, solid form on Monday evening.
“Because of the angle, it would have appeared to shine and appeared to move,” he said.
Mr Mather said the planets would be best viewed from this Friday through to Wednesday.
“For five or six days, we have all three of the brightest planets dancing around a five degree patch in our evening sky,” he said.
“At their closest the dance floor will have shrunk to about two-and-a-half degrees.”