The superior planets

Published 7:29 am Thursday, September 6, 2018

When astronomers talk about “superior” and “inferior” planets, they aren’t making quality assessments. The terms relate to the planets’ positions relative to Earth. The “inferior” planets (Mercury and Venus) orbit the sun within Earth’s orbit. The “superior” planets orbit the sun from positions outside Earth’s orbit. Three of the superior planets (Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) are visible to the unaided eye, and they will be lined up in the sky for viewing.

High Bridge Trail State Park’s astronomy events are held near the center of High Bridge where the view of the sky is unobstructed. This location is approximately 1.25 miles from the River Road parking area and about one-half mile from the Camp Paradise parking area, which can be accessed off Aspen Hill Road. When walking onto the bridge structure, visitors should turn off any flashlights that do not employ a red filter. The event is Saturday, 8:30-10 p.m. and is free, but State Park parking fees apply. For more information, contact the High Bridge Trail State Park office at (434) 315-0457.

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