Amazing April First Star Gazing

If you live in the Northeast Kingdom like I do, you’re inside where it’s warm, cozy, and buried beneath half a foot to a foot of snow depending on the town or mountain you live in, or on. We have a lot of snow.

We are not due for clear skies, in fact just more snow, which we’re used to (the ones that complain have not lived here long enough to know that snow up to the end of April, even beginning of May is typical).

For the sake of opportunity and acknowledgement, let’s take a quick look at two particular happenings taking place tonight once our darling orange star sets beneath our footed horizon:

Mecury, Mars, Luna to TaurusClick here for larger view.

Tonight, you can find our planetary neighbors Mars and Mecury aligned in such a way from our perspective that they look diagonal with our largest satellite in orbit around us, 4.6 billion years in the making, the Moon. It just so happens the left, or Red Eye of the Bull, the star Aldebaran is just within vicinity of this amazing sight!

wintercircle2Click here for larger view.

It’s important to catch the last remaining night sky views of the asterism, the Winter Circle, now that the Spring Equinox has now passed us. Our days are rising sooner and setting later, meaning less opportunity for star gazing!

Funny enough, I don’t know of any astronomy or planetarium based softwares (although some like Stellarium, featured here, are the best) that feature an option to display asterisms. They are a cool thing, such as the Big Dipper, but not a true constellation! The Big Dipper, the Winter Circle, and many others, are shapes we recognize but are not the true designated 88 constellations.

I learned this from frequenting Scott’s Sky Watch, an often informative and inspiring read on the basics and foundations of astronomy that every astronomer-hope-to-be needs.

Although it’s rather snowy outside, I will be venturing to get out there and provide the usual line up of Saturday planetarium shows. Maybe I’ll mention a few more asterisms in my Evening Sky show!

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