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Arrows View a Beautiful Astronomical Sight

In the clear early morning hours of Friday, February 1, around forty students and half a dozen faculty braved the sub-freezing temperatures to view a beautiful astronomical sight. That morning saw a nice alignment of three planets and the Moon rising in the East just before the Sun. Students began arriving before 5:30am to catch a view through the two Meade reflecting telescopes, a 10" and a 6" scope. They were rewarded for their lack of sleep with great views of Jupiter, farthest to the West in the alignment. The four Galilean moons of Jupiter were clearly visible as smaller dots around the bright spot of Jupiter with its darker streaks barely noticeable. The next visible planet to the East of Jupiter was the exceptionally bright Morning Star, Venus. Next in line, and viewed with a telescope, was the Waning Crescent Moon. The left edge gave nice views of mountains and some craters on the Moon. The third planet in line was Saturn but rising so close to sunrise that we could not get a clear view of the rings, just the planet with the naked eye. There were a few constellations and stars of note that were visible in the early morning hours as well. Antares in the constellation Scorpius was just ahead of Jupiter and the Big Dipper was upside down to the North. The three bright stars of the summer triangle (Deneb, Vega, and Altair) could be seen about halfway up in the north east as well. Hot chocolate and breakfast treats were graciously provided by the early rising kitchen staff for students to enjoy after taking their turn on the roof. The viewing wrapped up just before 6:30 as the rising Sun washed away the reflected light from these heavenly objects.