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Today's Baja night sky from the BPE

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Today's Baja night sky from the BPE

BAJA NIGHT SKY #59: Mars is the fourth and last of the inner rocky planets. Just 3 months ago you had to wait until midnight to see Mars rise in the SE. However, on our inside and faster track around the Sun, we have been gaining on Mars, getting closer every night. On Tuesday, April 8, we will pass between the Sun and Mars. Astronomers call this opposition: Mars is in the direction opposite the Sun from Earth. It will rise at 7:30pm just as the sun sets behind a level western horizon. The moon will be high above Mars, and Jupiter will be overhead. For a week, Mars will be brighter than Sirius, and its disk through a telescope will appear the largest it has been in seven years. While you can watch Mars all evening, the best time is around 1am when it is directly south at its highest point in the sky. Since there is less atmosphere to look through compared to the horizon, you have a better chance of seeing surface details through a telescope. Sitting below Mars is Crux, the Southern Cross. Mimosa is the bright star marking the left or eastern side of the cross. It's a giant star compared to our Sun, and more than 4 billion years younger. Giant stars burn up their Hydrogen fuel so fast that they collapse, and then explode into supernovae. That's the fate of Mimosa. With binoculars, you can find the Jewel Box star cluster just under Mimosa at the 8 o'clock position. If you spot the two bright stars at the left of Crux pointing up at Mimosa, the brightest and most easterly one is Alpha Centauri, the closest visible star to Earth at 4.3 light-years. Mimosa is 350 light-years away. Around June 7, the Southern Cross will be standing in the same place at 9pm. Tom

1. Re: Today's Baja night sky from the BPE

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Removed on: 08 April 2015, 06:17