Last Week's Stargazing Tips

April 18: Changing Skies

Sunlight will illuminate more than 80 percent of the lunar hemisphere that faces our way tonight, so the Moon shines brightly. Molecules of air scatter the moonlight, filling the sky with a faint glow, which is a weaker version of daylight.

April 17: Moon and the Scorpion

The star Acrab stands to the right of the Moon as they climb into view after midnight tonight. It is at the end of a short line of three stars that represents the head of Scorpius, the scorpion. Acrab is actually a system of six stars.

April 16: Moon and Saturn

The Moon and the planet Saturn rise in late evening, with bright golden Saturn quite close to the left of the Moon. They remain close as they arc low across the south later on, with Saturn moving to the right of the Moon at first light.

April 15: Arcturus

Arcturus is the fourth-brightest star in the night sky. Look for it in the east as night falls. If you need help finding it, first locate the Big Dipper. Follow the curve of the dipper’s handle away from the bowl to “arc to Arcturus.”

April 14: More Lunar Eclipse

A total eclipse will darken the Moon after midnight. The Moon will be fully immersed in Earth’s shadow by 2:06 a.m. CDT, and will remain totally eclipsed for almost an hour and 20 minutes. Bright orange Mars will stand above the Moon, with the star Spica closer below it.

April 13: Lunar Eclipse

An eclipse will darken the Moon tomorrow night. The nearby planet Mars, which glows like a brilliant orange star, and the the star Spica, which will stand even closer to the Moon, will help make it an unforgettable experience.

April 12: North Galactic Pole

You can gaze up and out of the Milky Way galaxy’s disk on spring evenings. The north galactic pole is in the constellation Coma Berenices, to the left of the bright star Arcturus, which is due east at nightfall. Arcturus is well to the left of even brighter Mars.


©2014 The University of Texas McDonald Observatory