Weekly Stargazing Tips

Unless otherwise specified, viewing times are local time regardless of time zone, and are good for the entire Lower 48 states (and, generally, for Alaska and Hawaii). Check out last week's tips if you missed a night.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Denebola

The Moon cruises past the heart of the lion tonight. Regulus, the brightest star of Leo, stands above the Moon in early evening. The lion’s body trails to the lower left of Regulus. It ends at the star Denebola, at the tip of the lion’s tail.

Cor Caroli

Cor Caroli, the brightest star in Canes Venatici, is in the east as darkness falls, not far from the Big Dipper. The star's name means “the heart of Charles.” Edmund Halley, the British astronomer royal, named it in honor of King Charles II.

Eclipses Through the Ages

The 30th eclipse in a series that began in 1492 takes place early Saturday, with all or part of it visible across the United States. An eclipse series is known as a Saros. This one will consist of 71 eclipses, with the final event in 2754.

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