Last Week's Stargazing Tips

March 30: Moon and Regulus

Regulus, the brightest star of Leo, the lion, stands to the lower left of the Moon at nightfall. Regulus actually consists of two pairs of stars. Only one member of the quartet is bright enough to see with the unaided eye, however.

March 29: Moon and Jupiter

Jupiter huddles close to the Moon tonight. The planet looks like a brilliant cream-colored star close to the upper left of the Moon at nightfall.

March 28: Moon in the Middle

The gibbous Moon passes through the middle of a triangle of bright objects tonight: the planet Jupiter, the star Procyon, and the “twins” of Gemini. The brightest point of the triangle is Jupiter, which is to the left of the Moon as night falls.

March 27: First-Quarter Moon

The Moon is at first quarter today. The label is a bit misleading because sunlight illuminates half of the hemisphere that faces our way. “First quarter” indicates that the Moon is one-quarter of the way through its cycle of phases.

March 26: Crater

The constellation Crater, the cup, is visible this month in the southeastern evening sky. Its stars are faint, so you need very dark skies to find it. To ancient European cultures, Crater represented the birthplace of storms.

March 25: Pyxis and Antlia

Two tiny constellations created to honor scientific progress wheel low across the south on early spring evenings. They are Pyxis, the compass, and Antlia, the air pump. Both are faint, though, so you need a star chart to find them.

March 24: Moon and Taurus

Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus, twinkles close to the upper left of the Moon at nightfall. The orange star shines so prominently because it is nearing the end of its life, so it has puffed up to giant proportions.

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