Skywatch Line Archive

Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, April 24th and 25th, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, April 24th and 25th. The Sun sets at 7:48 PM; night falls at 9:35. Dawn breaks at 4:10 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 5:58. Only two planets are visible in the twilight sky. Mars is moderately low in the western sky; at civil dusk, it is 18 degrees high and appears as a tiny first magnitude red dot in Taurus. Do not confuse Taurus’ red star Aldebaran for Mars. Mars sets at 10:11 PM. Jupiter, in Virgo, is up moderately high in the eastern sky. It flashes at … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, April 21, through Sunday, April 23, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, April 21, through Sunday, April 23, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, the Sun rises at 6:04am and sets at 7:45pm; the waning crescent Moon rises at 3:30am and sets at 2:16pm. Watch the razor-thin crescent Moon seven degrees below and to the right of Venuson Sunday morning, shorty before sunrise. Spot Venus close to the Moon even after the Sun comes up. Venus, at magnitude –4.7, transitioned from the evening to the morning sky about a month ago,around the time of the spring equinox. In a telescope, Venus looks like a … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, April 19th, and Thursday, April 20th, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, April 19th, and Thursday, April 20th, written by Louis Suarato. The Moon reaches its Last Quarter phase at 5:57 a.m.,Wednesday. The Last Quarter Moon will set at 14 minutes past noon later that day. The Moon will rise as a waning crescent at 2:52 a.m., Thursday. After sunset, Mars will be setting within the constellation Taurus. Look for the Pleiades about 4 degreesto Mars’ upper right. The red planet and star cluster may be seen in the same field of view through binoculars or a small telescope. Jupiter rises at 6:25 … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, April 17th and 18th, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, April 17th and 18th. The Sun sets at 7:40 PM; night falls at 9:24. Dawn breaks at 4:25 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 6:08. The evening sky has two bright planets, Mars, in Taurus, in the West and Jupiter in the East. Mars shines at first magnitude moderately high in the western sky, appearing as a tiny red dot. Note Mars’ position. As the sky darkens, Mars lies about 4 degrees below the Pleiades star cluster. This juxtaposition remains for the next 5 nights. Both set by 10:14 … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, April 14, through Sunday, April 16, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, April 14, through Sunday, April 16, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 6:15am and sets at 7:37pm; the Waning Gibbous Moon sets at 8:24am and rises at 10:56pm, reaching transit altitude of 32 degrees south at 3:14am. On Friday, mid-to-late evening, catch the Moon rising above the eastern horizon. Stay later to watch Saturn follow the Moon into the sky by very late evening, or after midnight. Look for the Moon, the star Antares and Saturn in the predawn and dawn sky for the next several mornings. Best view … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, April 12th, and Thursday, April 13th, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, April 12th, and Thursday, April 13th, written by Louis Suarato. Wednesday’s twilight features Mars setting in the west as Jupiter rises in the east. The face of Mars is 97% illuminated, while Jupiter is 100% illuminated. Mars has two small moons, Phobosand Deimos, which are among the smallest in the solar system. Jupiter has 67 moons, four, known as the Galilean moons, are among the largest in the solar system. Mars’ atmosphere consists mainly of nitrogen and argon, while Jupiter’s atmosphere is comprised mostly of hydrogen and helium. Mars’ temperature ranges … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, April 10th and 11th, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, April 10th and 11th. The Sun sets at 8:32 PM; night falls at 9:13. Dawn breaks at 4:39 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 6:20. Civil Dusk presents two planets at each horizon. Mercury hovers 11 degrees above the western horizon; it shines at minus 2nd magnitude, appears about 11 percent illuminated and is a tiny 10 arc-seconds in size. Mercury is stationary tonight; Tuesday begins a descent into the Sun’s glare. It sets at 8:48 PM. Mars lies 18 degrees to Mercury’s upper left in Aries. Mars is … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, April 7, through Sunday, April 9, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, April 7, through Sunday, April 9, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 6:27am and sets at 7:29pm; the 87% illuminated Waxing Gibbous Moon sets at 4:49am and rises at 3:49pm. On Friday evening, the waxing gibbous Moon passes just one degree south of Regulus, the brightest star in Leo. The Moon will be closest to Regulus around 12:40am. On Sunday night, the almost full Moon is coming closer to planet Jupiter. Watch the Moon moving closer to Jupiter in the next nights as the full Moon and Jupiter move … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, April 5th, and Thursday, April 6th, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, April 5th, and Thursday, April 6th, written by Louis Suarato. The 71% illuminated, waxing gibbous Moon rises at 1:51 p.m. Wednesday. By nightfall, you’ll find it high above the southern horizon, in the constellation Cancer, to the lower left of M44, the Beehive Cluster. Thursday, Leo’s brightest star, Regulus, will shine less than a degree to the left of the Moon. Look for Mars and Mercury low in the west after sunset. Later in the evening, you’ll notice the Pleiades star cluster above Mars. Mercury, the lower of the two, will … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, April 3rd and 4th, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, April 3rd and 4th. The Sun sets at 7:24 PM; night falls at 9:02. Dawn breaks at 4:53 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 6:32. The First Quarter Moon dominates the evening sky. By Civil Dusk, it is about 62 degrees high, in Gemini. It blazes at minus 10th magnitude, is half illuminated, is 32 arc-minutes large and is best observed at 7:16 PM. Tuesday finds it in Cancer and a bit larger, brighter and fatter. The Moon’s brilliance will hinder observation of dim distant deep space objects. The … Continue reading

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