Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Moon below, then above the Pleiades

The crescent moon is always a pretty sight. Tonight and tomorrow night, it joins the Pleiades star cluster in the western sky directly after sunset. Can you see the Earthshine (sunlight reflected off the Earth and cast on to the moon)? How many stars can you see belonging to the Pleiades?

Such is our view from Earth ...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A pairing at dawn

Our moon glides next to Jupiter in the sky 60 minutes before sunrise tomorrow. Look to the southeast for this and you'll see the crescent moon seemingly full with Earthshine just to the giant planet's right. Jupiter is 40 times bigger than our moon, but 2000 times farther away.

Such is our view from Earth ...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Final call for Venus

Over the next several nights, Venus sinks quickly in the western sky directly after sunset. This is your best chance to view through binoculars our nearest planetary neighbor. With a steady hand, you should have no trouble seeing its very thin crescent phase. By next Thursday, the planet will be very difficult to spot because it will be very close to the western horizon as the sun sets.

Such is our view from Earth ...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Count the stars

If you would like to help the understanding of light pollution, Last night began a study of the night sky in which people can participate. The Globe at Night program aims to measure sky glow around the globe by comparing the number of stars seen from many, many locations on our planet. You can observe the number of stars you see in the constellation Orion and submit your results to the GaN folks who will compile all the recordings from across the globe. See Globe at Night for all the details on how you can participate in the fun, but important planet-wide project.

Such is our view from Earth ...