Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm


22 Feb 2016
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Join us for Impromptu Sky Watches, or Neighborhood Mini-Star Parties, to be held in a neighborhood, park or at a school by one or more members of the Astronomical Society of the Desert! The purpose is to observe a fairly unusual but eye-pleasing astronomical event we’d like to share with others. The event might be a very thin crescent moon in morning or evening twilight, or it could be a rare gathering of celestial bodies. A close pair of planets, or a planet and a star, or the moon and a planet or bright star, may trigger our desire to share the experience of viewing the event. Sometimes, a sky watch might be arranged to see a very favorable pass of the International Space Station across our local skies, or just to enjoy a moonrise over our scenic mountain horizon. If you’d like to join us for one or more…
29 Jan 2016
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For much of February, early risers will continue to enjoy all five bright planets before dawn, as the waning moon sweeps past all of them through Feb. 6. In its next trip around Earth, the moon will go past four planets from Feb. 24 through March 7. February’s evening mid-twilight occurs about 40 minutes after sunset from our latitude. Sirius is the brightest object plotted on our evening chart until very late in the month, when Jupiter appears above the horizon just north of due east. Sirius and Capella are the southern and northern vertices and brightest members of the huge Winter Hexagon, with a seventh star, Betelgeuse, inside. Regulus and Jupiter follow the Hexagon across the sky. But you needn’t wait until the month is almost over to see Regulus and Jupiter; just look later in the evening. By Feb. 18, Regulus is at opposition and visible all night—note…
01 Jan 2016
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From late January through most of February, early risers can enjoy all five bright planets before dawn. The waning moon sweeps past four of these planets Dec. 31-Jan. 7, and past all five Jan. 27-Feb. 6. One hour before sunrise, find brilliant Venus in the southwest, with Saturn nearby to its upper right Jan. 1-8, and to the lower left thereafter. These two planets are 8 degrees apart on Jan. 1, closing to 5 degrees on Jan. 4. On two mornings, they’ll form a spectacular close pair in the same telescopic field, within 0.7 degrees, on Jan. 8, and 0.5 degrees on Jan. 9. They’re still within 4 degrees on Jan. 12, widening to 7 degrees on Jan. 15. Each day, Venus goes east against background stars by just more than 1.2 degrees, while Saturn goes by only 0.1 degrees, and Mars goes east about 0.5 degrees. Watch Venus pass…