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Earthsky Tonight — April 4, 2010: Drive a spike to Spica
Posted By Gary Wamsley On April 3, 2010 @ 10:29 pm In Earth & Sky | Comments Disabled
Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science
Notice that we have shrunk the scale of today’s chart, in order to take in a wide sweep of sky, from northeast to southeast. Tonight, let the Big Dipper introduce you to another bright star.
This star is Spica in the constellation Virgo the Maiden. If you are outside this evening, you can follow the arc to Arcturus and drive a spike to Spica.
In other words, today’s chart shows a wide sweep of sky, from northeast to southeast in late evening. First follow the curve made by these stars in the Big Dipper’s handle to the star Arcturus in the constellation Bootes: follow the arc to Arcturus . Now extends the curve in the handle into the southeastern sky: drive a spike to Spica.
Spica  in the constellation Virgo looks like one star, but this single point of light is really a multiple star system – with at least three member stars – located an estimated distance of 262 light-years away. Spica’s constellation, Virgo, is so large and rambling and difficult to see that I haven’t marked it. However, you can look for a little squarish figure to the upper right of Spica on today’s chart. This is the constellation Corvus the Crow.
As Earth travels around the sun, all the stars rise four minutes earlier each day. Thus, these stars will be rising earlier – and appearing higher in the sky earlier in the evening – in the coming months.
Written by EarthSky
Space Com 
Amazing Space 
Scope City 
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URLs in this post:
 www.EarthSky.org: http://www.EarthSky.org
 Image: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/10apr04_430.jpg
 follow the arc to Arcturus: http://earthsky.org/es-tonight/follow-the-arc-to-arcturus
 Spica: http://earthsky.org/tonightpost/brightest-stars/speed-on-to-spica-the-15th-brightest-star
 Give me five minutes, I’ll give you Saturn in 2010: http://earthsky.org/tonightpost/astronomy-essentials/give-me-five-minutes-ill-give-you-saturn
 Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA/JPL: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/
 CHANDRA Photo Album: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/
 Sky and Telescope: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/ataglance/
 National Geographic: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/
 Space Com: http://www.space.com/nightsky/
 Amazing Space: http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/tonights_sky/
 The York County Astronomical Society: http://www.ycas.org/tonights_sky.htm
 Scope City: http://www.scopecity.net/
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