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Old 04-26-2009, 11:33 PM   #1
Avalon Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,098
Lightbulb The Upcoming Celestial Events thread

Hey all,

I find myself often wanting to post astronomy related things going on in the skies, and instead of making a new thread for every event,
I figured it would be good to have one thread where anyone can post any upcoming events they come across.

cool? or not cool?

To start it off, Tonight right after Sunset, about 9pm,


See Mercury, the Moon, and the Pleiades together in the night sky

Don't miss a stunning sight around 9 P.M. local daylight time April 26 when a crescent Moon joins Mercury and the Pleiades in the deepening twilight.
Michael E. Bakich, Senior Editor
April 2009 Mercury finder chart
Mercury lies near the Pleiades star cluster after sunset in late April. The Moon joins this pair April 26. Astronomy: Roen Kelly [View Larger Image]
Mercury puts on a fine show starting the second week of April, and you won't have to get up early or venture far to see it.

In mid-April, Mercury sets more than 80 minutes after sunset. During the month's final 2 weeks, Mercury closes in on the spectacular Pleiades star cluster, also known as the Seven Sisters.

Astronomy magazine Contributing Editor Raymond Shubinski encourages everyone to observe Mercury. "Mercury is a major planet in our solar system," he says. "Everyone who's interested in the sky should see it at least once. And when the planet's bright like it is now, all it takes is a quick trip outdoors."

Don't miss a stunning sight around 9 P.M. local daylight time April 26 when a crescent Moon joins Mercury and the Pleiades in the deepening twilight. The Moon lies 2° (about 4 Moon-widths) above the cluster, and Mercury sits 3° (6 Moon-widths) below the cluster. The Moon's dark portion will be clearly visible, illuminated by sunlight reflected from Earth, known as earthshine. Binoculars will provide the best view.

On April 29, Mercury lies about 3 Moon-widths south of the Pleiades. The Moon has climbed significantly higher and will lie in the constellation Gemini the Twins. Mercury has dimmed to the brightness of Aldebaran, the nearby reddish 1st-magnitude star in the constellation Taurus.

Viewing Mercury through a telescope remains challenging. The planet's disk reveals little. Its low altitude in the sky and its visibility shortly after sunset leave observers viewing the disk while Earth's atmosphere remains turbulent. The unsteady air yields unsteady images.

Still, Mercury's appearance changes noticeably each evening. On April 9, 90 percent of the planet's disk was illuminated. You'll hardly notice it as less than full. The phase shrunk to three-fourths lit by April 15 and to half-phase April 21. By month's end, Mercury will display a 27-percent-lit crescent.
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astronomy, celestial, events, moon, pleiades

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