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What's up there?
#21
April 26, 2010
Spica, the brightest star of the constellation Virgo, is a little to the lower left of the Moon tonight. The fainter star 61 Virginis, which is below the Moon, is much like our own star, the Sun. It has a system of at least five planets.

April 27, 2010
Venus, the "evening star," is in Taurus, the bull, tonight. The orange star Aldebaran, to the upper left of Venus, represents the bull's eye. The dipper-shaped star cluster known as the Pleiades, the bull's shoulder, is to the lower right of Venus.

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#22
Sorry, forgot to do this a few weeks..
May 2010
Spring, the season of renewal and rebirth, brings a renewed energy to evening skywatching as well. Leo and Virgo, with their brightest stars Regulus and Spica, climb high overhead. Hercules lumbers into the northeast, while the Summer Triangle peeks into view in late evening, heralding the approach of the short nights of summer. Venus climbs into better view in the early evening, while Mars remains in good view and Jupiter climbs skyward in the east at dawn.

May 16, 2010
As the Sun sets this evening, a beautiful drama plays out in the western sky: the Moon and the planet Venus brightening into view through the twilight. Venus is the "evening star," to the lower right of the crescent Moon. They form the most striking duo in the night sky.

May 17, 2010
Corona Borealis, the northern crown, soars high across the sky tonight. It is fairly low in the northeast at sunset, but stands high overhead around midnight. Although its individual stars are modest, combined they form a striking semicircle, like a crown.

May 18, 2010
Plenty of bright stars twinkle across the sky tonight. As it gets dark, for example, Vega is climbing into view in the northeast, with yellow-orange Arcturus high in the east-southeast, and the twins of Gemini to the right of the Moon.

May 19, 2010
The planet Mars is in good view tonight. It stands above the Moon as night falls this evening, and follows the Moon down the sky. Mars looks like a bright orange star.

May 20, 2010
The first-quarter Moon forms a wide, skinny triangle with two bright companions tonight. Regulus, the brightest star of Leo, the lion, is to the upper right of the Moon, with the orange planet Mars farther to the Moon's right. They are high in the sky at nightfall and set by around 2 a.m.

May 21, 2010
Scorpius, the scorpion, is entering prime evening viewing time. Its brightest star, Antares, rises about an hour after sunset, with the scorpion's "stinger" following about an hour later. Look for bright orange Antares low in the southeast around 10 p.m.

May 22, 2010
The planet Saturn appears near the Moon tonight. They are high in the south at sunset, with Saturn above the Moon. It looks like a bright golden star.

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#23
May 23, 2010
The planet Mercury just peeks into view in the east a little before sunrise the next few days. But it is quite low in the sky, so it is hard to see. You need to be in the southern half of the northern hemisphere to have a realistic chance of spotting it.

May 24, 2010
Spica, the brightest star of the constellation Virgo, huddles close to the Moon tonight. It is above the Moon as night falls. There are no other bright stars or planets around it, so Spica is easy to pick out.

May 25, 2010
The brightest stars of the constellation Ursa Major, the great bear, form a pattern known in the United States as the Big Dipper(Karlavagnen in Swedish). Other parts of the world, however, see the pattern as a plow. The plowman is the next constellation over, Bootes.

May 26, 2010
Bootes, the herdsman, is a faint constellation. But it does have one brilliant light: Arcturus, the third-brightest star that's visible from most of North America, Europe and Asia. It is high in the southeast at nightfall, and shines yellow-orange.

May 27, 2010
The constellation Bootes is in the east at nightfall. Its brightest star is brilliant yellow-orange Arcturus. To the left of Arcturus is fainter Izar. A telescope reveals that Izar is really two stars, one of which is orange, the other blue-white.

May 28, 2010
Bootes, the herdsman, is high in the sky at nightfall. It looks like a faint kite, with bright yellow-orange Arcturus at the tail. The top of the kite is Beta Bootis, far to the left of Arcturus. Two decades ago, it produced one of the most powerful explosions ever detected from a "normal" star.

May 29, 2010
The large but faint constellation Ophiuchus is visible in the early evening hours in late spring and early summer. Ophiuchus is the serpent bearer, and its brightest star is Rasalhague, which is Arabic for "head of the snake charmer."

May 30, 2010
As darkness falls, look about a third of the way up the western sky for Pollux and Castor, the stars that represent the twins of Gemini. They are especially easy to spot right now because they stand above Venus, the "evening star."

May 31, 2010
The dazzling planet Jupiter rises in the wee hours of the morning and is well up in the eastern sky at first light. Use binoculars to scan just to the left of Jupiter for the planet Uranus. It looks like a tiny blue-green star.

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#24
June 1, 2010
The stars that mark the heads of Hercules and Ophiuchus stand close together in the east this evening. Each bears an Arabic name that means "the head." In Hercules, it's Ras Algethi (head of the kneeler); in Ophiuchus, Ras Alhague (head of the serpent charmer).

June 2, 2010
The Northern Cross is one of the highlights of the summer evening sky. Look toward the northeast around 10 p.m. for six stars that form a cross that is lying on its side. The brightest star, which stands at the top of the cross, is Deneb.

June 3, 2010
The giant planets Jupiter and Uranus are in the southeast at dawn. Jupiter looks like a brilliant star. Much-fainter Uranus is just to its upper left. Through binoculars, it looks like a faint blue-green star.

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#25
June 4, 2010
The planet Saturn poses high in the southwest as darkness falls this month. It looks like a bright golden star. A telescope reveals its best-known feature: its beautiful rings.

June 5, 2010
The planet Jupiter, which looks like a brilliant star, stands to the lower right of the Moon at first light tomorrow. From Jupiter, use binoculars to scan a bit toward the Moon for the planet Uranus, which looks like a tiny blue-green star.

June 6, 2010
Regulus, the brightest star of Leo, the lion, is well up in the western sky as darkness falls. Tonight, bright orange Mars is just a little to the upper right of Regulus. Tomorrow night, it will stand directly above the star.

June 7, 2010
The planet Mars stands high in the western sky at nightfall. It looks like a bright orange star. And tonight it has an equally bright companion: Regulus, the brightest star of Leo, the lion, which stands just a whisker below the Red Planet.

June 8, 2010
The planet Mars and the star Regulus form a striking pair this evening. They are high in the west at nightfall. Orange Mars is the brighter of the two, with Regulus, the brightest star of Leo, the lion, a bit to its lower right.

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#26
June 9, 2010
Vega, the brightest star of Lyra, the harp, is in the northeast at nightfall. The remains of a star that was once like Vega stand to its lower right: the Ring Nebula. You need a telescope to see the nebula, which is thousands of light-years away.

June 10, 2010
The planet Venus lines up with Pollux and Castor, the twin stars of Gemini, in the west the next few evenings. Venus is the brilliant "evening star." Pollux is to the right of Venus, with Castor about the same distance to the right of Pollux.

June 11, 2010
As we head toward summer, the days are longest for the year. The Sun is already up by the time most of us greet the day, and doesn't set until 8 or 9 p.m. or later. Twilight stretches the days even more; residents in far-northern states and countries see just a few hours of darkness if any.

June 12, 2010
The Moon is "new" today, as it crosses the imaginary line between Earth and Sun. It will return to view as a thin crescent by Sunday or Monday evening, quite low in the west shortly after sunset.

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#27
June 13, 2010
Under clear, dark skies, the galaxy M81 is visible through binoculars. Find the Big Dipper, which is high in the north at nightfall, then scan to the lower right of the dipper's bowl. M81 looks like an oval smudge of light almost as wide as the Moon.

June 14, 2010
A beautiful pairing of the Moon and the planet Venus highlights the western sky this evening. Venus is the brilliant "evening star" just above the crescent Moon.

June 15, 2010
The planet Venus is low in the west this evening. It is the brilliant "evening star" to the lower right of the crescent Moon. Venus outshines all the other planets and stars in the night sky, so it is impossible to miss.

June 16, 2010
The planet Mars stands to the upper left of the Moon as darkness falls tonight. It looks like an orange star. The true star Regulus is above the Moon, completing a beautiful triangle.

June 17, 2010
The Moon has some bright companions tonight. As night falls, look for the planet Mars to the upper right of the Moon, the star Regulus to the right, and the planet Saturn farther to the upper left of the Moon.

June 18, 2010
The planet Saturn is in good view tonight. It looks like a bright golden star directly above the Moon at nightfall. The orange planet Mars is to their right.

June 19, 2010
A horse and rider gallop high across the north on summer evenings. They form the middle of the Big Dipper's handle. They are the stars Mizar and Alcor. Mizar is the brighter of the two, with Alcor just a whisker away. They are so close together that many long-ago skywatchers thought of them as a horse and rider.

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#28
June 20, 2010
Summer arrives tomorrow at 6:28 a.m. CDT, which is the moment of the summer solstice here in the northern hemisphere. The solstice marks the Sun's northernmost point in the sky for the entire year.

June 21, 2010
Draco, the dragon, slithers across the northern sky on summer nights. It is high in the sky as darkness falls. It looks like a faint trail of stars wrapping around the North Star, Polaris.

June 22, 2010
Draco, the dragon, is a long, winding, and faint constellation that wraps around the North Star, Polaris. Four millennia ago, one of Draco's stars, Thuban, served as the North Star. But because of a slow wobble in Earth's axis, Polaris has supplanted it.

June 23, 2010
Antares, the brightest star of Scorpius, stands to the lower left of the Moon at nightfall. This supergiant star, which is at the middle of the scorpion's curving body, shines with a distinctly orange tint.

June 24, 2010
Eltanin, an Arabic name that means "the serpent," is the brightest star of Draco, the dragon, which is high in the north on summer evenings. It is as bright as the nearby North Star, Polaris.

June 25, 2010
Earth's shadow will take a "bite" out of the Moon early tomorrow, creating a partial eclipse. The best part of the eclipse begins when the Moon first touches the dark inner part of the shadow around 5:16 a.m. CDT. The Moon exits the shadow at 8 a.m.

June 26, 2010
The Moon is full early today, so it rises not long after sunset this evening and remains in view for the rest of the night. But since the night is short, so is the time for moonwatching, so June's full Moon is sometimes called the Short Night Moon.

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#29
sorry all, missed a week.. been away.. sorry


July 4, 2010
The Moon is at last quarter today, which means it lines up at a right angle to the line between Earth and the Sun. Sunlight illuminates half of the lunar hemisphere that faces our direction.

July 5, 2010
The Sun is farthest from us for the entire year this week, at a distance of more than 94 million miles. During the year, the distance varies by about three million miles because Earth’s orbit is slightly lopsided.

July 6, 2010
The glowing band of the Milky Way curves low across the eastern sky at nightfall, from Scorpius and the teapot of Sagittarius in the south, to Cygnus, the swan, in the east, to W-shaped Cassiopeia in the north.

July 7, 2010
The largest globular star cluster in the galaxy, Omega Centauri, stands low in the south at nightfall this evening for skywatchers in the far-southern U.S. It looks like a tiny smudge of light. Binoculars show a few of its millions of stars.

July 8, 2010
Bright orange Aldebaran, the leading light of Taurus, the bull, is to the right or lower right of the Moon at first light. It looks orange because its surface is much cooler than the surface of the Sun.

July 9, 2010
The planet Venus has a bright companion the next few evenings: Regulus, the brightest star of Leo, the lion. Tonight, the lion’s bright heart is just a bit to the lower left of the brilliant “evening star.” They are in the west at nightfall.

July 10, 2010
A total solar eclipse will darken the skies around midday tomorrow as measured from the Lower 48 States. Unfortunately, though, it will be visible only from a narrow path across the South Pacific from east of New Zealand to South America.

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#30
Seems I missed a few weeks again... sorry

August 1, 2010
The planets Venus, Mars, and Saturn fade into view as the sky darkens. Venus is the brightest of the three -- it is the brilliant "evening star." Mars and Saturn form a tight pairing to Venus' upper left, with Saturn slightly higher in the sky.

August 2, 2010
A giant teapot floats low across the south this month, with a "steam" of stars rising from its spout. The teapot is formed by the brightest stars of Sagittarius, which is in the southeast at nightfall and due south around midnight.

August 3, 2010
The center of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is hidden behind clouds of dust. But its location is easy to find. It is above the spout of teapot-shaped Sagittarius, which scoots low across the south on summer evenings.

August 4, 2010
Sagittarius arcs low across the south tonight. Its brightest stars form the shape of a teapot. The subtle glow of the Milky Way rises from the spout like steam. The center of the galaxy is immersed in that steam, about 27,000 light-years away.

August 5, 2010
The second-brightest star of Sagittarius, which is low in the south on summer nights, is Nunki. Its name may be the oldest star name that is still in use. Nunki is at the top left corner of the "teapot" formed by Sagittarius' brightest stars.

August 6, 2010
The brightest member of the trio is Venus, the "evening star." Saturn stands just a little above Venus, with Mars a little farther to Venus' upper left.

August 7, 2010
The faint constellation Vulpecula, the fox, fills the gap between the bright constellations Cygnus and Aquila. Its brightest star, Alpha Vulpeculae, is only fourth magnitude, so you need fairly dark skies to see it.

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