Weekly Cosmos Report - Baja Night Sky #76

Date: 02/03/2015

Week of March 1, 2015:

1) Venus and Mars continue to grow brighter each evening in the west. Mars will soon head back towards the sun and be lost in its glare. It was Carl Sagan's study of the atmosphere of Venus that confirmed the Greenhouse Effect here on Earth. Venus will climb higher and become brighter in the weeks ahead. By late June it will meet Jupiter for a spectacular conjunction after sunset. Jupiter is the bright planet high in the east during the evening.

2) A full moon will rise on Thursday, March 5, about 6:36pm.

3) Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbs, famously said, "If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I'll bet they'd live a lot differently." Give it a try. Wait until a few nights after full moon when the sky will be its darkest. Go out soon after sunset as twilight begins. Is there still enough light to hike a mountain trail with care? Can you tell when dusk, the darker part of twilight, sets in, and you wish you were back in camp? Watch for darkness to finally fall, the time when there is no hint of light in the west from the sun. Look for a grouping of stars that might qualify as a constellation. What would you name it if given the task? Can you distinguish old red stars from younger blue-white ones? Can you find any deep sky ghosts, those barely perceptible hazy clouds that a telescope might reveal to be a star cluster, a nebulous birthplace of new stars, a comet, or a far away galaxy of a billion stars or more? Wait for a meteor to streak across the sky before heading back inside.

By Tom in El Sargento at

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