Michael Cooney: With all the talk lately about the recent monster solar flare and its impact on Earth, there are other things going on up there to make you gaze into space.
For example, next Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 28 and March 1, the planet Venus and our Moon will put on a side-by-side show where Venus will be shining to the Moon's lower left on the 28th and on its upper right on the next night.
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"These are the two brightest astronomical objects in the sky after the Sun," said Alan MacRobert, a senior editor of Sky & Telescope magazine in a release. "They'll certainly catch your eye, if you look low in the southeast about 60 to 40 minutes before sunrise - weather permitting."
The light show is more impressive when you consider that Venus is currently 400 times farther away than the Moon and Venus is 3½ times wider than the Moon.
Meanwhile if you are in California tomorrow you may be able to catch a glimpse of NASA launching its latest satellite. According to NASA its Glory satellite is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Feb. 23 at 5:09 a.m. EST.
It will join a fleet the squadron of satellites that orbit the Earth known as the Afternoon Constellation or "A-train." of satellites. The A-Train satellite formation includes other NASA environmental tracking satellites Aqua, CloudSat, CALIPSO, and Aura. The Orbital Science-built Glory will fly in a low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 438 miles.