Southern Cross Stargazer for March 2-8, 2014

 

Sunday

By nightfall, aim binoculars west of Zenith to view the complete star clusters: Seven Sisters lead Taurus, the Bull, westward. Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) is in the V-shaped Hyades (Bull’s face). Bright Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, into the northwest. Gigantic Orion, the Hunter, strides across the south aiming at the Bull. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant Sirius, blue eye of Orion’s Big Dog, sparkles in the south behind Orion. The Big Dog trots on its hind legs, trailed by the Pups.

Low in the south, Canopus sends rainbow colors from the ancient ship in the southern hemisphere.

Bright Jupiter glows overhead, near the Gemini Twins. The dim Beehive cluster follows the Twins. The Big Dipper rises higher in the northeast. Its bowl always faces Polaris, the North Star. Aim binoculars to the colorful double star in the curve of the Dipper’s handle. The end of the Little Dipper’s handle is Polaris.

Mid-evening, Leo, Lion crawls higher in the east. Late evening, bright Arcturus, the Herdsman, (red giant) sparkles low in the northeast, beyond the Big Dipper’s handle. Ruddy Mars brightens in the southeast 6 degrees ahead of Spica — both in Virgo. Corvus, Crow, flies higher in the southeast. Cetus, the Whale, dives onto the southwestern horizon.

Wednesday

Bright Jupiter sets in the northwest about 5 a.m.

By 6 a.m. Vega, in Lyra the Harp, brings the great Summer Triangle higher in the northeast. Cygnus, the Swan, flies within the Triangle. Venus, Morning Star, glows intensely in the southeast. Mercury appears in the southeast, the the lower left of Venus.

Silver Saturn leads huge Scorpius into the south. Antares, red supergiant much larger than our sun, is the bright heart beating in the Scorpion’s torso. The Sagittarian Teapot closely follows Scorpius. Ruddy Mars lies near Spica high in the southwest. Corvus, Crow, descends lower in the southwest.

The stunning star cluster Omega Centauri shimmers low in the south. The Lion stalks the western horizon. The Big Dipper pivots into the northwest. Arcturus, the Herdsman, sparkles west of Zenith.

Thursday

At dusk, the crescent moon forms a triangle with two star clusters: Hyades upper left and the Pleiades upper right of the moon.

Friday

Tonight aim binoculars at the moon 2 degrees above Aldebaran in the Hyades cluster. The straight edge of the moon reveals tops of craters protruding from the vertical shadow line.

Saturday

First quarter moon occurs at 8:27 a.m.

• Weather permitting, Southern Cross Astros offer safe solar viewing with professional equipment at the waterfall entrance to ZooMiami 10:30 a.m. to noon every Saturday. Updates: 305-661-1375, ext. 3.

Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375, scas.org

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