Skywatch Line Archive

Skywatch Line for Wednesday, March 22nd, and Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, March 22nd, and Thursday, March 23rd, written by Louis Suarato. The 31% illuminated, waning crescent Moon sets at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the constellation Sagittarius. The Moon rises again as a 25% illuminated crescent at 4:15 a.m. Thursday in Capricornus. Venus may be too close to the Sun to view after sunset, but you still may be able to find our closest planetary neighbor in daylight using binoculars. Be careful not to look too close to the Sun. Look for Mercury around 7:30 p.m. about 10 degrees above the western horizon. … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, March 20th and 21st, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, March 20th and 21st. The Sun sets at 7:08PM; night falls at 8:43. Dawn breaks at 5:21 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 6:56. The Vernal Equinox took place at 6:29 Monday morning, signaling the beginning of astronomical spring. Astronomers define Spring as that point when the ecliptic (the Sun’s path across the sky) and the celestial equator (the projection of Earth’s equator onto the sky) cross with the Sun climbing higher on the ecliptic. The southwest evening sky contains three bright planets and one dim one, all in … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, March 17, through Sunday, March 19, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, March 17, through Sunday, March 19, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 7:04am and sets at 7:05pm; the 77% illuminated Waning Gibbous Moon rises at 11:12pm on preceding day, reaching transit altitude of 33 degrees south at 4:34am and sets at 9:52am. The Spring Equinox comes on Monday at 6:29am EDT. Venus is the first star-like object to shine into the evening twilight. You might be able to see Venus as soon as a few minutes after sunset. Venus will fall sunward to pass in between the Earth and … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, March 15th, and Thursday, March 16th, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, March 15th, and Thursday, March 16th, written by Louis Suarato. Venus is in retrograde motion, traveling toward the Sun, and is about 17 degrees above the horizon at sunset. Wednesday night, Venus shines as a 4.2% illuminated disk. Use binoculars or a telescope to see crescent Venus before it get too close to the setting sun. Venus reaches inferior conjunction on March 25th, and will emerge as a morning star by the end of the month. Mercury passes 9.5 degrees from Venus, but is still too close to the Sun to … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, March 10, through Sunday, March 12, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, March 10, through Sunday, March 12, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 6:16am and sets at 5:56pm; the 96% illuminated Waxing Gibbous Moon reaches transit altitude of 57 degrees south at 11:00pm and sets before sunrise at 5:12am. The Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00am on Sunday. Saturday night’s Moon will appear full to the eye all night long. However, the Moon turns exactly full on Sunday at 10:54am.This is the third full Moon this year, which is called the Worm Moon, Crow Moon, or Sap Moon. This full … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, March 8th, and Thursday, March 9th, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, March 8th, and Thursday, March 9th, written by Louis Suarato. The 84% illuminated, waxing gibbous Moon rises at 1:54 p.m. Wednesday in the constellation Cancer. At nightfall, look about 8 degrees to the Moon’s upper left to see the Beehive Cluster, or M44. To the Moon’s right is the asterism known as the Winter Hexigon, comprised of the stars Rigel in Orion, Aldebaran in Taurus, Capella in Auriga, Pollux in Gemini, Procyon in CanisMinor, and Sirius in Canis Major. Over the western horizon, Venus shines brightest as a 10% illuminated crescent. … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, March 6th and 7th, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, March 6th and 7th. The Sun sets at 5:51 PM; night falls at 7:25. Dawn breaks at 4:47 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 6:21. The Moon and two bright planets grace the darkening sky. The nine-day-old Moon rises about Noon on Monday in Gemini and blazes at minus 10th magnitude, appearing about two-thirds lit. Tuesday finds it slightly brighter and fatter. The Moon sets at 2:53 AM on Tuesday, and at 3:46 AM on Wednesday. Three planets inhabit the moderately low western constellation of Pisces. Venus is next … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, March 3, through Sunday, March 5, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, March 3, through Sunday, March 5, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 6:28am and sets at 5:48pm; the 30% illuminated Waxing Crescent Moon rises at 9:33am, reaching transit altitude of 60 degrees south at 4:34pm, and sets at 11:44pm. The Moon reaches first-quarter phase on Sunday at 6:32am. On Saturday, the dark limb of the almost first-quarter Moon occults Aldebaran for viewers in most of the United States, Mexico, and Central America. That evening, the Moon visits the Hyades cluster in Taurus Constellation and moves south of Aldebaran, the … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, March 1st, and Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, March 1st, and Thursday, March 2nd, written by Louis Suarato. The old adage states that “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” Most use that idiom to refer to the weather, but it’s also true astronomically. Wednesday evening, look above the eastern horizon to see the constellation Leo “The Lion”. Leo is the 12th largest constellation, and is most prominent from February through May. Leo’s brightest star is Regulus, which can be found to the lower right of the lion’s neck and head, an asterism known … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, February 27th and 28th, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, February 27th and 28th. The Sun sets at 5:42 PM; night falls at 7:16. Dawn breaks at 4:58 AM and ends with sunrise at 6:32. The darkening sky reveals the Moon and three planets, all in Pisces. A very young Moon (one-day-old), appears bright, very thin and very low, only eight degrees above the western horizon. It migrates from Aquarius to Cetus on Tuesday, appears slightly fuller but much brighter, at minus 4th magnitude nearer to Venus. The Moon sets at 7:09 PM on Monday, 8:13 PM on Tuesday. Venus is … Continue reading

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