"The Weekend of Nine Cosmic Ladies, and: The Great Red Star"

Scheduled air date: 1999 Apr 12-18

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For the next couple of weeks, Mars can be seen to form a triangle with the bright stars Spica and Arcturus.  You can use the handle of the Big Dipper to help locate them: extend the arc of the handle away from the dipper, and you'll encounter reddish Arcturus; continue and you'll come to white Spica.  As Mars will be at its closest to Earth, it will outshine both of these stars.
(Shown about 10:00pm for mid-Northern latitudes.  Mars' apparent position will change only slightly over this period.)

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On the evening of April 18th, the Moon, Venus, Aldebaran and the Pleiades—or Seven Sisters—will form a beautiful group in the western sky.  For central North American viewers, the Moon will actually cover Aldebaran in what astronomers call an "occultation" for up to about an hour (the farther North the viewer, the longer Aldebaran will be invisible!).
(The positions for Venus and the Moon are shown for the evenings of the 17th through 19th for mid-Northern latitudes.)

If you wish to view illustrations for other episodes, please see our Star Gazer Illustrated directory.

Illustrations on this page were created using TheSky Astronomy Software, an advanced desktop planetarium program designed for Windows.

Copyright 1999-2006 by Software Bisque, Inc.