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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Friday, November 28, 2014

Earthsky Tonight — April 18, Spica, your guide star to Omega Centauri

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

Moon phases waxing crecent 75x72 Earthsky Tonight — April 18, Spica, your guide star to Omega Centauri  10apr18 430 Earthsky Tonight — April 18, Spica, your guide star to Omega Centauri  Silvery-blue Spica, the only prominent star in the constellation Virgo, acts as your guide to the Omega Centauri globular star cluster. To the unaided eye, Omega Centauri looks like a fairly faint (and possibly fuzzy) star. Very few of the Milky Way galaxy’s 250 or so globular clusters are readily visible without optics.

To find Spica, extend the curve of the Big Dipper handle, as illustrated on our April 4 EarthSky Tonight. Spica transits – climbs to its highest point in the sky – around midnight tonight. Spica’s precise transit time for your sky is available at the US Naval Observatory. Spica – like any star – transits 4 minutes earlier with each passing night.

As seen from mid-northern latitudes, Spica and Omega Centauri transit due south in concert. Look for Omega Centauri about 35 degrees directly below Spica. (A fist at an arm-length approximates 10 degrees.)

People living south of 35 degrees north latitude have a realistic chance of spotting Omega Centauri, though it’s been seen as far north as Point Pelee, Canada (42 degrees north). Best appreciated with a telescope, Omega Centauri, the largest and brightest of all globular star clusters, is a globe-shaped stellar city, teeming with millions of stars!

Related:

Omega Centauri: Largest and brightest star cluster

Written by Bruce McClure

Other Links:

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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