COLUMBIA, S.C. — Most of the upcoming days will feature cloudy weather thanks to multiple weather systems passing through the Midlands over the coming days. Looking at the Skywatch Forecast, as we approach the beginning of next week, we do expect some clearing in the forecast which will make for good viewing conditions.
Just in time for the clear conditions, will be the weekly opening of the Melton Memorial Observatory on the University of South Carolina campus. The observatory is currently open on Mondays from 7-9 PM when skies are clear and offers a great opportunity for the public to take a look at the night sky.
The 16 inch Cassegrain telescope which is 94 years old offers detailed views of celestial objects like, nebula, stars, and planets. Observatory Director Martin Bowers says that many who take a look through the telescope come away shocked with what they see .
"When you are observing... it is almost like you are experiencing the universe because you are seeing itself, you are looking right at it and a lot of people have emotional reactions like "Oh wow, I never knew this is possible.""
If for some reason you can't make it out to the observatory Bowers says that people at home that are interested in the night sky can use common tools like binoculars to view the sky. When it comes to planets and meteor showers, Bowers says a nice chair is all you need to take a look.
As for something to take a look at this week, well, as the skies clear each morning to start off next week. Mars, Mercury and Venus will all be rising in the morning sky just about 30 minutes before sunrise so just look low in the eastern sky and you might catch a glimpse!