Just two days before the vernal equinox that marks the first moment of spring, astronomers will lead a night sky observation on March 18 at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute’s Nature Center in Rosman. PARI is the former site of a historic NASA satellite tracking station.
“Many ancient cultures considered the vernal equinox as the beginning of a new year,” PARI astronomer Dr. Bob Hayward said in a statement. “Among other objects, we’ll be targeting the waxing gibbous Moon and the planet Jupiter. We have just gone through a period of several months when there have been no visible planets readily available in the evening sky. We are now entering a time when the major planets will gradually shift from the predawn skies into the evening.”
Hayward said PARI telescopes will be used to view Jupiter, its four brightest moons and to spot the Great Red Spot, “which is mysteriously shrinking.”
Prior to the observing session, PARI astronomers will provide a short presentation on constellations visible in the evening and morning skies this time of year.
Attendees are advised to wear comfortable shoes for this outdoor event.
Spring Night Sky Observation, March 18, 7:30-9:30pm, Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (1 PARI Way, Rosman). $15 for adults; children 10 and under are free. Register and pay online at www.pari.edu. For additional information contact Sarah Chappell at email@example.com or call 828-862-5554.