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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Monday, May 25, 2015

‘Earth & Sky’ Archives

Earthsky Tonight — Young crescent moon above Venus

Earthsky Tonight — Young crescent moon above Venus

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Our sky chart shows the waxing crescent moon and the blazing planet Venus for about 45 minutes after sunset (at mid-northern latitudes in North America). Venus sets a bit more than one hour after the sun, and tonight’s moon sets over two hours after sunset. Yesterday, at this time, the young moon was much closer to the western horizon, shining pretty much side by side with Venus. Tonight, the moon appears ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight — Young moon and Venus low after

Earthsky Tonight — Young moon and Venus low after sunset

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org It is nearly spring in the northern hemisphere. The March equinox - when the sun crosses the celestial equator from south to north – will fall on March 20. This time of year – near the spring equinox – is the most favorable for spotting a young moon. See if you can catch one today after sunset by the blazing planet Venus. A young moon is a thin waxing crescent moon visible in the west in evening twilight. ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight: March 15—The westward shift of

Earthsky Tonight: March 15—The westward shift of Orion and all the stars

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org We got this question: “Orion seems to have moved and turned considerably in the last two weeks. Will Orion disappear before summer?” The answer is that all the stars and constellations shift westward as the seasons pass . . . and they also move westward in the course of a single night. Orion is no exception. Exactly when Orion will disappear from the evening sky – into the sunset – depends on your latitude. The ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—March 14, Leo loses his tail, we

Earthsky Tonight—March 14, Leo loses his tail, we gain a constellation

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Tonight’s chart again shows the evening sky high to the east. Below and to the left of the constellation Leo the Lion are dozens of very faint stars. They are Coma Berenices, otherwise known as Bernice’s Hair. The Greek-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy and others considered it Leo the Lion’s bushy tail. Coma Berenices remained part of Leo until several hundred years ago, when it was first listed as a separate ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—March 13, Use the Big Dipper to

Earthsky Tonight—March 13, Use the Big Dipper to locate the Hunting Dogs

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org You can locate the Big Dipper in the northeast in mid- to late evening around now. The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major, the Greater Bear. In addition, if you can find the Big Dipper, you can find two Hunting Dogs seen by the ancient stargazers to be nipping at the Bear’s heels. The Hunting Dogs are a separate constellation: tiny Canes Venatici. You will need a dark sky to see these two little ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—March 12, Tangle of stars in

Earthsky Tonight—March 12, Tangle of stars in Berenice’s Hair

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org What we are about to describe requires a dark sky to be seen: a faraway cluster of stars known as “Coma Berenices.” How can you spot it? One way is to use the famous constellation Leo the Lion, now in the east each evening. Leo is relatively easy to see. The front part of the Lion looks like a backwards question mark, and the back part is a little triangle, which includes the star Denebola, marked on ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—March 11: Mars stationary in front

Earthsky Tonight—March 11: Mars stationary in front of stars

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Almanacs say the planet Mars is “stationary” today. However, stationary doesn’t mean that Mars stays in the same place in Earth’s sky all night tonight. Mars actually shines in the southern sky at mid-evening, and crosses the sky westward throughout the night. This ruddy world sets beneath the western horizon before dawn tomorrow. Does stationary mean that Mars is staying still in its orbit around the ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—March 10: Is Sirius the most

Earthsky Tonight—March 10: Is Sirius the most luminous star in the sky?

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Look south at nightfall and early evening, and you can’t miss Sirius, the brightest star in the nighttime sky. Mia asks, “Isn’t there a brighter star in absolute magnitude which appears dimmer because of its distance?” Yes, Mia, you are right. Sirius looks extraordinarily bright in Earth’s sky because it is only 8.6 light-years away. Many stars on the sky’s dome are intrinsically more luminous ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—March 9: Ancient eye test relied on

Earthsky Tonight—March 9: Ancient eye test relied on two stars in Big Dipper

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Look back to “this chart”  for more about how to recognize the Big and Little Dippers on these almost-spring evenings. The ancient eye test for those wishing to join the Roman army was administered using stars in the handle of our modern-day Big Dipper. If you passed, you got a job as an archer. If you failed, you had to serve in another capacity … perhaps as a cook. It is said that sultans of the past ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight — March 8, 2010: The Summer

Earthsky Tonight — March 8, 2010: The Summer Triangle, a signpost for all seasons

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org As seen from our northern temperate latitudes, the three brilliant stars of the Summer Triangle – Vega, Deneb and Altair – are out for at least part of the night every night of the year. Presently, the Summer Triangle shines in the eastern sky at and before dawn. Like the Big Dipper, the Summer Triangle is an asterism – a pattern of stars that is not one of the officially recognized 88 constellations. To gauge the ... Full Story

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