Regulus, the bright star that represents the heart of the lion, shines down on the Moon tonight. They’re high in the sky at nightfall, with Regulus almost directly above the Moon. They’ll remain close as they slide down the southwestern sky later on, and set in the wee hours of tomorrow morning.
This beautiful encounter is certain to be a popular target for many events that are part of today’s Astronomy Day - a national and even international celebration of the night sky.
Astronomy Day  was established 40 years ago as a way to bring the beauty and excitement of the night sky to as many people as possible. Schools, astronomy clubs, museums, and other groups offer special programs at shopping malls, parks, and other easy-to-reach venues. Programs include talks, exhibits, and view of the Sun during the daytime and the Moon and stars at night. Hundreds of groups take part in the event each year.
In addition to Regulus and the Moon, other popular targets this evening will include the planet Jupiter, which is low in the west as night falls, and Saturn, which is low in the east. Telescopes reveal Jupiter’s cloud bands and its four largest moons. They also reveal Saturn’s beautiful rings, as well as its largest moon, Titan, which is cloaked in a cold, dense atmosphere.
So even if you can’t make it to any of the Astronomy Day events, take a moment to step outside and enjoy the beauty of the night sky - tonight and every other night as well.
Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2013
For more skywatching tips, astronomy news, and much more, read StarDate magazine.