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Sky Tonight—April 28, Spica is your guide star to Omega Centauri cluster

Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science

Visit EarthSky at
www.EarthSky.org [1]

[2] [3]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 faint (and possibly fuzzy) star. Very few of the Milky Way galaxy’s 250 or so globular clusters [4] are readily visible without optics.

To find Spica [5], extend the curve of the Big Dipper handle, as illustrated on our April 5 [6] 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 [7]. Like any star, Spica transits 4 minutes earlier with each passing night.

Spica: Speed on [5]

As seen from mid-northern latitudes, Spica and Omega Centauri [8] 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 has 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!

Omega Centauri: Largest and brightest star cluster [8]

Top tips for using ordinary binoculars for stargazing [9]

By Bruce McClure [10]



Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA/JPL [11]

EarthSky: Space [12]

CHANDRA Photo Album [13]

U.S. Naval Observator Astronomical Information cente [14]r

Universe Today [15]

StarDate Online [16]

Sky and Telescope [17]

National Geographic [18]

Space Com [19]

Simostronomy Blog [20]

Amazing Space [21]

The York County Astronomical Society [22]

Scope City [23]

James S McDonnell Planetarium [23]