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Volume 15, Issue 14 ~ April 5 - April 11, 2007

A Show from Horizon to Horizon

East to west, sunset to sunrise, there are plenty of sights to delight

Sunset falls at 7:36 Saturday and a minute later each night, revealing Saturn almost directly overhead. A bright, steady light between the winter constellations of Leo and Cancer, the ringed planet makes an easy target before setting around 4am in the northwest.

Brighter still is Venus above the western horizon, even shining through the glare of twilight. Although Venus climbs higher each night, any gain is canceled out with our progressively later sunsets, so that for the next few months, it looks as though Venus were hovering in place.

As Venus sets in the northwest around 10:45pm, Jupiter crests the southeast horizon. The gaseous giant travels a shallow southern arch and is low in the south at sunrise, around 6:40 this week. Saturday, Jupiter trails about seven degrees behind the waning moon. The next night, Jupiter leads the way, with the moon about a dozen degrees behind.

Friday the moon travels with the great scorpion, which in Greek legend stung and killed the hunter Orion. Every year, as winter gives way to spring and summer, Scorpius rises as Orion sets. Then, as warm weather gives way to fall, the scorpion sets as Orion reemerges in the east.

Antares, a brilliant red giant and the brightest star in its part of the sky, marks the scorpion’s heart. Three hundred times larger than our own sun, Antares is actually two double stars, but you’ll need a hefty telescope to discern them. Your unaided eyes should be enough, however, to spot a fuzzy patch half the size of the moon and to the north of the scorpion’s tail, the Butterfly Star Cluster.


Illustration: © Copyright 1925 M.C. Escher/Cordon Art-Baarn-Holland; Graphics: © Copyright 2007 Pacific Publishers. Reprinted by permission from the Tidelog graphic almanac. Bound copies of the annual Tidelog for Chesapeake Bay are $14.95 ppd. from Pacific Publishers, Box 480, Bolinas, CA 94924. Phone 415-868-2909. Weather affects tides. This information is believed to be reliable but no guarantee of accuracy is made by Bay Weekly or Pacific Publishers. The actual layout of Tidelog differs from that used in Bay Weekly. Tidelog graphics are repositioned to reflect Bay Weekly’s distribution cycle.Tides are based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and are positioned to coincide with high and low tides of Tidelog.

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