Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
If the clouds break this weekend:
Friday, Saturn shines in the east-southeast these evenings, with Spica below it. Far left of them sparkles brighter Arcturus. Less far to their right or lower right, look for the four-star pattern of Corvus, the Crow.
Saturday, Last-quarter Moon (exact at 8:07 a.m. EDT). The half-lit Moon rises in the middle of the night and is high in the south before sunrise.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
The March winds keep blowing in the clouds! Catch as catch can on the stargazing this week. Forecast is continued cloudy skies in the evening and early morning skies.
Looking for Uranus? Uranus is in conjunction with the Sun. Uranus will reappear in the morning sky in mid April.
Tonight is the V. Equinox, spot Saturn, Spica and a bright moon.
Spica is near the Moon tonight. The March equinox comes at 7:21 p.m. EDT, marking the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This is when the Sun crosses the equator heading north for the year.
Monday, Mercury is at its highest in the evening sky from now until Wednesday
Tuesday, These next two weeks, when there's no moonlight in the sky at the end of twilight, are a fine time to look for the zodiacal light (from mid-northern latitudes) if you have a very clear, unpolluted sky. As the last of twilight is fading away, look for a vague but huge, tall, narrow pyramid of pearly light extending up from the western horizon. It slopes to the left, following the ecliptic. What you're seeing is interplanetary dust near the plane of the solar system, lit by the Sun.
Wednesday, By mid-evening Orion is tilting into the southwest, with his three-star belt now level — a sign of spring's arrival.
A binocular challenge: See it you can hunt out the trio of Messier galaxies under the belly of Leo: M95, M96, and M105. Use Gary Seronik's "Binocular Highlight" article and chart in the April Sky & Telescope, page 45. You'll need a really dark sky! A telescope shows them much more easily.
Thursday, early morning stargazing….Scorpius and the moon
News from the Net:
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Coming to a Sky Near You: The Realm of Galaxies
Your Pictures of the “Super” Full Moon
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New Horizons Flies by Uranus
Success! MESSENGER First Spacecraft to Orbit Mercury
Saturday, March 12, 2011
As Mercury rises in the west each evening, the NASA probe Messenger gets closer to orbit on St. Pats Day, Thursday. The Full Moon Friday will be historic! This Full Wolf Moon will be the closest apogee until 2016. That makes this full moon bigger than usual! Worth a look see Friday night. Perhaps the "Supermoon" will empower our spring to last longer, before the heat of summer devours us!
News from the Net:
Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Tonight, Early March is when Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, shines at its highest due south right after dark. It's the bottom point of the equilateral Winter Triangle. The triangle's other points are orange-red Betelgeuse to the upper right, and Procyon to Sirius's upper left. A dark sky with the New Moon (exact at 3:46 p.m. EST). Algol is at minimum brightness, magnitude 3.4 instead of its usual 2.1, for a couple hours centered on 8:53 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Look for Arcturus, harbinger of Spring! Try looking for the zodiacal light in the evening. The zodiacal light is a faint glow coming from interplanetary dust. Look to the west more than two hours after sunset. You'll need to look from a very dark observing sight and have very clear weather. It will look like a cone of faint light poking up from the western horizon.
Saturday, If the sky is clear very low in the west soon after sunset, binoculars may show Mercury lower left of the very thin waxing crescent Moon, as shown here. Brighter Jupiter higher up guides the way to them. Bring binoculars. Could this be the youngest Moon you've ever seen?
Sunday, Jupiter shines to the left of the waxing crescent Moon in twilight, as shown here. If you're near latitude 40° north, the crescent is almost exactly level like a cup.
News from the Net:
Ground-Based Observations Capture Spacewalking Astronaut in Action
X-37B launch delayed due to weather
Spitzer Captures a Pink Sunflower in Space
NASA Mission to Europa May Fall to Budget Cuts
‘Climate Change Satellite’ Fails to Reach Orbit, Crashes in Ocean
Always a Good Show: SRB Camera Views from Discovery’s Last RideIncoming! New Camera Network Tracks Fireballs