Skywatch Line Archive

Skywatch Line for Wednesday, May 12, and Thursday, May 13, 2021

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Wednesday, May 12, and Thursday, May 13, written by Alan French. Having reached new on Tuesday, a young, slender, crescent Moon is a difficult target on Wednesday night, but higher and easier by Thursday. On Thursday evening it will be close to Mercury and provide a nice landmark to aid spotting the innermost planet. If you have trouble spotting the Moon or Mercury, binoculars may bring success. Once located in binoculars, they should be easier to spot by eye. The Sun sets at 8:09 on Wednesday night and at 8:10 Thursday. Look for… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday May 10th and Tuesday May 11th, 2021

This is the Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Monday Tuesday May 10th, and 11th, written by Joe Slomka. The Sun sets at 8:06 PM; night falls at 10:03. Dawn breaks at 3:40 AM and ends with sunrise at 5:37. Monday’s Moon sets at 7:08 PM. Tuesday, it rises, in Aries, at 5:18 AM and sets at 8:09 PM; Wednesday, it rises at 6:08 AM. Tuesday’s Moon, in Taurus, is at apogee (furthest from Earth); its located 406,512 km (252,595 mi)- the most distant for this year. Tuesday’s Moon is also “New,” which means that its illuminated side faces away from… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, May 7, through Sunday, May 9, 2021

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, May 7, through Sunday, May 9, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 5:41am and sets at 8:03pm; Moon rises at 4:15am and sets at 4:04pm. Mercury is now easily spotted in twilight if you have a good view to the west-northwest. Venus, despite its brightness, can still be tricky to spot as it sits 8 degrees below. Mars sits higher in the west as night falls. Little Mars is approaching the base of the Arch of Spring, the long line from Procyon on the left to Capella on the… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, May 5, and Thursday, May 6, 2021

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Wednesday, May 5, and Thursday, May 6, written by Alan French. The Moon reached last quarter this past Monday so a waning crescent Moon is now moving toward new and rising before sunrise. On Thursday morning a 25% illuminated Moon rises at 3:55 and by Friday it will appear only 17% sunlit and rise at 4:16 AM. With the Moon rising so late we’re in for some nice, dark moonless skies. The terms first and last quarter Moon tend to cause confusion. People sometimes interpret them to mean one quarter of the Moon… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday May 3rd and Tuesday May 4th, 2021

This is the Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Monday Tuesday May 3rd, and 4th, written by Joe Slomka. The Sun sets at 7:59 PM; night falls at 9:51. Dawn breaks at 3:53 AM and ends with sunrise at 5:45. The Last Quarter Moon rose at 2:21 AM in Capricornus, and appeared 48% illuminated and set at 11:41. Tuesday’s Moon, in Aquarius, rises at 2:58 AM, appears 30 arc-minutes in size, 38% lit and sets at 12:50 PM. Mars rises, in Gemini, during daytime, is near minimum with 1.6 magnitude and a small 4.6 arc-seconds. By 8:30 PM, it lies about… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, April 30, through Sunday, May 2, 2021

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, April 30, through Sunday, May 2, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 5:51am and sets at 7:55pm; Moon rises at 8:27am. The month of May presents the year’s best month for spotting the solar system’s innermost planet, Mercury, in the evening sky. However, you’ll want to find an unobstructed horizon in the direction of sunset to maximize your chances of catching it. Mercury isn’t difficult to spot because it’s dim. Rather, Mercury often eludes detection, because sits low in the west at sunset and then follows the Sun beneath… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, April 28, and Thursday, April 29, 2021

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Wednesday, April 28, and Thursday, April 29, written by Alan French. The Moon was full last Monday, so a waning gibbous Moon rises after sunset now. The Sun sets at 7:54 PM. Moonrise is at 10:11 Wednesday night and 11:29 Thursday night. It will reach last quarter early next Monday afternoon, having completed three-quarters of its trip around the Earth, from new Moon to new Moon. Sunrise is at 5:53 AM. If you’re up early, between 4:30 and 5:00, look for bright Jupiter low toward the southeast. The obvious but fainter yellowish star… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday April 26th and Tuesday April 27th, 2021

This is the Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday April 26th, and 27th, written by Joe Slomka. The Sun sets at 7:51 PM; night falls at 9:39. Dawn breaks at 4:09 AM and ends with sunrise at 5:57. Monday’s Full Moon rises at 7:27 PM in Virgo; by 8 PM it is 4° high in the East, 33° in size, and sets at 6:23 AM, Tuesday. Tuesday’s Moon is found in Libra, about the same size as Monday, slightly slimmer, rises at 8:48 PM and sets at 6:57 AM, Wednesday. Because of the Moon’s elliptical orbit, it monthly… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, April 23, through Sunday, April 25, 2021

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, April 23, through Sunday, April 25, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 6:01am and sets at 7:47pm; Moon sets at 4:33am and rises at 3:35pm. Look upper left of the Moon on Friday, by less than fist at arm’s length for 2nd-magnitude Denebola, the tail star of Leo. Nearly four fists left of the Moon shines brighter Arcturus, the leading star of Bootes. On Saturday evening, Arcturus shines about three fists left of the Moon. Look below the Moon by hardly more than half that distance, and a bit… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, April 21, and Thursday, April 22, 2021

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Wednesday, April 21, and Thursday, April 22, written by Alan French. The Moon was at first quarter, appearing half-full, early Tuesday night. On Wednesday night the Moon, 68% illuminated, will be high in the southeast as darkness falls. By Thursday it will be 77% in sunlight but not as high in the sky, having risen 72 minutes later. With the Moon crossing high in the sky and not far past first quarter this is an excellent time to observe the Moon. Any modest telescope will show a wealth of details and even steadily… Continue reading

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