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Stardate:February 20, 2024
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Earth’s neighbors in the dawn sky/RSS Feed
Pollux, the brightest star of Gemini, perches quite near the Moon this evening. Its “twin,” the star Castor, is a good bit farther from the Moon. Pollux has expanded to about nine times the diameter of the Sun — a beach ball to the Sun’s golf ball.
Venus and Mars will huddle close together the next few mornings, quite low in the east-southeast during the waxing twilight.
Hydra, the water snake, spans more than 100 degrees — almost a third of the way around the sky — so it takes a long time to climb into view. Tonight, for example, its head is in the east-southeast at nightfall, but its tail won’t rise until about midnight.
At the new Moon phase, the Moon is so close to the Sun in the sky that none of the side facing Earth is illuminated (position 1 in illustration). In other words, the Moon is between Earth and Sun. At first quarter, the half-lit Moon is highest in the sky at sunset, then sets about six hours later (3). At full Moon, the Moon is behind Earth in space with respect to the Sun. As the Sun sets, the Moon rises with the side that faces Earth fully exposed to sunlight (5).
Current Issue: March/April 2024
The Great North American Eclipse
by Damond Benningfield
This issue answers all of your questions about the upcoming Great North American Eclipse on April 8th, 2024! This is our guide to one of nature’s most beautiful and astounding events: a total solar eclipse. We’ll also have all the latest astronomy news, a comprehensive two-month stargazing guide for the months of March and April, detailed skycharts, and answers to your astronomy questions from our science guru Merlin.