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Tue10162018

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Astronomy

30 Mar 2018
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The two brightest “stars” in the April evenings are really planets. Venus continues to gain altitude in the west to west-northwest at dusk, as the time of its setting shifts from 1.6 hours after sunset on April 1, to 2.2 hours after on the 30th. Jupiter doesn’t appear on our evening mid-twilight chart until almost month’s end; it rises in east-southeast just more than three hours after sunset on the 1st, to just more than a half-hour after on the 30th. Next in brilliance at dusk are blue-white Sirius in the southwest; golden orange Arcturus climbing in the east-northeast to east; and yellow Capella, high in the northwest. In the morning, Jupiter, in the southwest at dawn, is easily the brightest morning “star.” Ranking next are Arcturus in west, and Vega passing just a few degrees north of overhead. Mars, just east of due south, is slightly fainter than these…
28 Feb 2018
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As was the case back in January, March 2018 has two full moons. The first one almost coincides with its rising at sunset on the March 1. The second full moon of the month, sometimes called a “Blue Moon,” occurs in morning twilight on the 31st, before its setting just after sunrise. The moon will not be unusually close this time, nor will there be an eclipse, so there won’t be much media hype about this year’s second “Blue Moon” on March 31. In March 2018, the predawn sky continues to host the three bright outer planets, all fitting within a span of 44 to 46 degrees. Starting with the full moon on March 1, follow the waning moon each morning through the 15th, and watch it pass above bright Jupiter on March 7, then skip from right to left of Mars March 9 and 10, and from right to…
31 Jan 2018
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In February 2018, the predawn sky hosts all three bright outer planets, spanning 44 degrees. After the total lunar eclipse at dawn on Jan. 31, follow the waning moon each morning in the first half of February, and watch it pass Jupiter on Feb. 7; Mars on Feb. 9; and Saturn on Feb. 11. Evenings offer the challenge of spotting Venus low in the western twilight glow, getting easier as its setting time improves from 24 to 56 minutes after sunset. Follow the waxing moon evenings from Feb 16, as a thin crescent near Venus, until March 1, when it’s full. Until Venus emerges from bright twilight, the evening’s most prominent point of light is Sirius, the brilliant “Dog Star,” in the southeast at dusk in February. Our morning twilight chart for February shows bright Jupiter nearly 40 degrees up in the southern sky. On Feb. 1, Mars is 12…