Mark Alan Lovewell

Moon and Saturn

Well after midnight tonight you'll see the last quarter moon rising in east with a companion planet. The ringed planet Saturn is right next to the moon. Prior to rising in the east the two were so close, only two degrees apart. They'll be separating this weekend. The two are in the zodiacal constellation Aquarius, a constellation we associate with late summer and early fall.

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Full Moon and Antares

A brilliant full moon rises in southeastern sky tomorrow night, about the same time as sunset, or a little later. We call this the Summer Moon. In other places the moon is called Strawberry Moon. The moon is in the zodiacal constellation Scorpius, one of the southern most constellations in the zodiac. The moon will never get much altitude, but will stay close to the southern horizon through the night.

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Mars and Beehive Cluster

The red planet Mars moves through the Beehive Cluster in the nights ahead. If you can find Mars, with a pair of binoculars you can also find the Beehive Cluster.

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Venus and Crescent Moon

The bright planet Venus has dominated our western evening sky this month and there is nothing in the sky to match - until next week.

Venus appears overhead in the west for quite a while after sunset. The planet is brilliant and closer to us than the Sun.

On Monday night the moon is joined by a thin crescent moon, to the viewer's right of the moon. The moon is fairly low so not everyone will see it.

Look again on Tuesday night and the moon will appear more southerly and higher above Venus. The two are in the zodiacal constellation Gemini.

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Northern Lights

There are few events at night that get one's emotions uplifted and feelings of wonder than the sight of Northern Lights.

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Venus and Mars

The two evening planets, Mars and Venus are in the western sky. The two are appearing closer and closer. Venus is the brighter of the two and commands the most attention. Venus looks like an airplane with running lights on, ready for landing.

The red planet Mars is dull and distant. Mars has lost so much of its brilliance from a few months ago it now looks like a regular star. You've got to work a little bit to pick it out amid the stars in the constellation Gemini. Venus and Mars will come close together in June, so we've all got time to watch their movement.

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Gibbous Moon

A bright moon in our southern sky will dominate the week ahead. The moon is gibbous, a term that describes the moon days before it is full. It lies inbetween that time when the moon is first quarter and full. Or, at the other end of the moon's orbit, it describes that time between the full moon and the last quarter moon. It is also a waxing moon, which describes the moon when it is somewhere between New Moon and Full Moon.

A waning moon is when it is somewhere between Full Moon and New Moon.

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Lyrid Meteor Shower

The Lyrid meteor shower will take place in the wee hours of Sunday morning. The shower will take place through Saturday night into Sunday morning, but the best time, the time of the radiant, will be after 2 a.m. and until 4:30 a.m. Observers can expect to see a couple of meteors an hour into the evening. This is not a big shower but it is dependable as a small shower.

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Starry Spring Nights

The nights ahead are moonless, making deep sky stargazing easy and full of wonder. So much has changed in the last month.

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Venus and Mercury

The two closest planets to the sun appear in our western sky in the evenings ahead. Venus is the easiest to spot, the brightest of all celestial objects in our night sky. Mercury is not far below, but nowhere as near as bright. Mercury reaches greatest elongation from the sun on Tuesday night. That means the planet is as far away from the sun as will get this spring. This is an opportune time to hunt for the wandering planet.

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