Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gemini, the triplets?

The last week of April and the first week of May find Mars moving past the twin stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux. On April 27, the Red Planet forms an interesting squashed isosceles triangle with those two similarly bright objects. A straight line can then be drawn from Pollux through Mars to the brighter star Procyon in Canis Minor. On May 3, Mars moves to form a straight line with Castor and Pollux. All three objects form the "triplets of Gemini" but only for 1 night.

Such is our view from Earth...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Moon occults the Pleiades

Tuesday April 8 brings the Curious Skywatcher an enchanting sight. After darkness settles, the thin crescent moon hovers serenely in the west. It glows almost magically with Earthshine. Just above it glitters the diminutive dipper-shaped cluster of stars, the Pleiades. Beginning about 9:30 the moon slowly moves in front of the Pleiades' northern edge.

Look through binoculars at this pretty scene until it sets shortly after 11 p.m. Some stars disappear behind the moon's disk, some stars pop out from behind the crescent's rim. The moon moves!

Such is our view from Earth...