Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm


01 Sep 2013
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The Coachella Valley is a great place for inspiring views of the night sky—and among the visually impressive events is the pairing of Venus and the crescent moon. While Venus is still visible in the evening sky for a few more months, Venus-Moon pairings will occur at dusk on Sept. 8, Oct. 7 and 8, Nov. 6, Dec. 5, and Jan. 1 and 2. Of these, the pairing this month, on Sunday, Sept. 8, will be the closest, and the moon will even help the observer spot Venus as they move together across the daytime sky. From Southern California, the moon and Venus appear closest, in the southeast sky shortly after noon, with Venus only 0.6 degrees, or just more than the moon’s width, from the northern cusp or point of the crescent. When the moon and Venus are highest—due south, nearly halfway from horizon to overhead around 3:15 p.m.—they’re…
01 Aug 2013
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At dusk, watch Venus slowly close in on Spica and Saturn, until pairings occur in September. Meanwhile, the best Milky Way viewing occurs this year on evenings through Aug. 9, and then again Aug. 26 through Sept. 7. Get to a dark site by nightfall, and enjoy! Dark moonless predawn hours of Aug. 12 and 13 make this an excellent year for the annual Perseid meteor shower. And mid-August, dawn brings forth the greatest number of bright stars visible simultaneously. Venus continues as the brilliant evening “star” low in evening twilight, while drifting from west to west-southwest as month progresses. Valley residents living closely east of mountains (such as near downtown Palm Springs) will want to seek out a location where the mountains don’t block the planet from view. Venus will grace our evening sky until early January 2014. Until then, a waxing crescent moon passes Venus monthly, producing the…
01 Jul 2013
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In July 2013, the brilliant evening “star” Venus gleams low in evening twilight, drifting from west-northwest to west as month progresses. Valley residents living near the mountains (in downtown Palm Springs, for example) will have to seek out a location where mountains don’t block the view. On our evening all-sky chart (above), planets are plotted for each day when the Sun has sunk to 9 degrees below the horizon, at mid-twilight. By then, the two naked-eye planets and eight stars of first magnitude or brighter plotted on the chart are easily visible, except for Pollux and Regulus sinking in the twilight glow. In July, from the Coachella Valley, mid-twilight occurs about 45 minutes after sunset. Planet positions are represented by a separate dot for each date, with positions for each Monday in July (1, 8, 15, 22, 29), represented by a larger dot and labeled. We find Venus and Regulus…