Monday, 11 August 2003: 1:29 PM
Major Skywatching Events in 2003-2004
The impressive Leonid meteor showers of the past two years, together with the appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997, have rekindled widespread public interest in viewing the night sky. While almanacs note the dates of eclipses and other celestial events, they rarely describe an eventís appearance or how to prepare audiences to view it. Among the best upcoming skywatching events are a historically unprecedented close approach of Mars in late August, a total lunar eclipse on November 8th (observable throughout North America), and a rare transit, or passage, of Venus across the Sunís disk in June 2004. Descriptions of where and how to view these events will be augmented by simple techniques for using a telescope, binoculars, or the unaided eye for backyard skygazing.