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Last Week's Stargazing Tips

April 2: Sundogs

Sometimes, when the Sun is low in the sky, you can see three Suns: the real one and two smaller, fainter ones flanking it. The extras are commonly known as sundogs, a name derived from the verb form of dog, which means to follow.

April 1: Volcanic Exomoon

Lepus, the hare, hops below the feet of Orion, which is in the southwest at nightfall. A planet has been discovered orbiting WASP-49, a star in Lepus. Astronomers have found evidence of a moon orbiting the planet, which would make it the first known “exomoon.”

March 31: Hardy Planet

Cancer, the crab, is high overhead as night falls. One of its stars is orbited by a giant planet that’s so close to the star that its atmosphere is being blasted away into space. The planet is far too faint, though, to see without a telescope.

March 30: Mars and Saturn

The planets Mars and Saturn are forming a tight pair in the early morning sky. They are low in the southeast at first light, to the lower left of brilliant Jupiter. Tomorrow, Mars will stand a little below Saturn.

March 29: Arneb

Arneb, the leading light of the constellation Lepus, the hare, is in the southwest as night falls, below brilliant Orion. Arneb is roughly 14 times the mass of the Sun. Such heavy stars burn out quickly, then explode as supernovae.

March 28: Moon and Venus II

Venus, the brilliant “evening star,” teams with the crescent Moon to put on a great show this evening. They are well up in the sky at nightfall, and don’t set until shortly before midnight.

March 27: Moon and Venus

The crescent Moon looks up at the planet Venus this evening. Venus is the brilliant “evening star,” outshining every other planet and star in the night sky.