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Stardate:February 22, 2024
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The vermin of the skies/RSS Feed
Dubhe, the star at the lip of the Big Dipper’s bowl, crouches low in the northeast as night falls, but wheels high across the north later on. Dubhe consists of two pairs of stars. The brighter pair is impressive, while the other is much less so.
Capella, the brightest star of Auriga, the charioteer, stands high overhead this evening and wheels across the northwest later on. It looks yellow with a hint of orange. It is one of the half-dozen brightest star systems in the night sky.
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.
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.