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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Earthsky Tonight—May 21, Gibbous moon between Mars and Saturn

Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science
www.EarthSky.org

May 22 Phases Earthsky Tonight—May 21, Gibbous moon between Mars and Saturn 10may21 4301 Earthsky Tonight—May 21, Gibbous moon between Mars and Saturn Tonight’s waxing gibbous moon points out a colorful lineup of celestial lights. The planet Saturn shines to the left (or east) of the moon, whereas the star Regulus and the red planet Mars shine to the moon’s right (or west). These heavenly bodies exhibit distinctive colors, but you may need binoculars to discern them.

Saturn, the 6th planet outward from the sun, appears yellow or golden through binoculars. What’s more, a small backyard telescope shows you Saturn’s glorious rings. At present, we’re seeing the rings almost edge-on, with the north side of Saturn’s rings tilting less than 2 degrees our way. However, the rings will open up wider as the year progresses. By the end of 2010, the rings will tilt some 10 degrees toward Earth.

Now look at Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation leo the Lion. Although color perception can vary somewhat from person to person, this star more or less appears white – or white tinged with blue. Regulus is a star, so it’s more apt to twinkle than the planets. Planets tend to shine with a steadier light.

Now aim your binoculars at ruddy-colored Mars, to see why the 4th planet from the sun is named after the god of war.

Written by Bruce McClure


Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA/JPL

CHANDRA Photo Album

U.S. Naval Observator Astronomical Information center

StarDate Online

Sky and Telescope

National Geographic

Space Com

Amazing Space

The York County Astronomical Society

Scope City

James S McDonnell Planetarium

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