CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As Jim Mcleod, longtime Astronomy teacher at Charlotte Christian School puts it, there are some astronomy events so rare that they occur only once in a lifetime, if at all.
Other, infrequent events repeat a few times in a person's life.
One of those will occur tomorrow morning - Thursday, March 26. With hopefully no more than partly cloudy skies in the forecast, early risers should get to enjoy a naked-eye grouping of three planets...Saturn (left), Mars (middle), and Jupiter (right).
To enjoy this opportunity, you'll need to face the direction of sunrise about an hour before the sun peeks over the horizon, say 6:00 to 6:20 AM.
Hold a straight arm out toward the trio and look up. Saturn and Jupiter will appear only three finger widths apart with tiny Mars sitting midway in between.
While enjoying the scene, you'll note that giant Jupiter outshines the other two planets while ruddy-colored Mars takes last place in the brightness contest. No one less than twenty years old has ever seen these worlds appear so close to one another.
Oh, and by the way, since this grouping of planets will only be visible for a few moments after 6:00AM, you won't be breaking the law by heading out of your home to view them! But if you do so with other family members, please, practice proper social distancing of at least six feet.
Now, let's hope there aren't too many clouds in the sky!
- Meteorologist Al Conklin