Star­walks: Spring Spec­tac­u­lar

Catron Courier - - Opinions & Editorial - By Thea Mar­shall

The full moon of April 4 will rise close to the bril­liant star Spica on the eastern hori­zon. Spica is the most prom­i­nent star in the con­stel­la­tion of the Vir­gin. On April 12, look to the west to see the bril­liant planet Venus, now above Mars. This will ap­pear be­side the clus­ter of stars known as the Pleiades on the back of the con­stel­la­tion of the Bull. By the evening of April 18, Venus will con­join the bright, red star Alde­baran, which is known as he ‘Eye of the Bull.’ Venus will not set un­til 11PM so there will be plenty of time af­ter sun­set to see th­ese two to­gether.

On April 19 on the west­ern hori­zon af­ter sun­set, be­low Venus, a new cres­cent moon and Mars will be vis­i­ble side by side above Mer­cury. Mer- cury will be the first to set at 8:30 PM, fol­lowed by Mars at 8:53 and the moon at 9 PM. Venus, still close to Alde­baran, will set at 11:02 PM, fol­lowed by Sir­ius at 11:15 PM to the south­west. On the eastern hori­zon, Saturn will be vis­i­ble with the three stars that make up the fore­head of the Scor­pion, which is known as Antares or the ‘Heart of the Scor­pion.’ Look for this to rise at 11:06 PM.

To the north­east, al­most par­al­lel to Saturn, the bright star that is known as Vega— which adorned the west­ern sky just af­ter sun­set in Jan­uary—will again be vis­i­ble. Look for Vega to rise in the east at 9:45 PM. By 1 AM, the Tail of the Scor­pion will rise with Al­tair, giv­ing us a pre­view of sum­mer skies to come.

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