Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tonight's Sky for April 19: Young Moon Meets Mercury, Mars

How thin of a
Moon have you seen? How about one that's less than 2 days old and only 3% illuminated? Well, if you have never seen a Moon this thin, tonight's your chance to do so as such a Moon will be making an appearance in this evening's sky just after sunset.

To see the Moon, you'll need a good Southwestern horizon. How good? One with less than 10 degrees of obstruction. To simulate this, hold a fist vertically at arm's length to simulate 10 degrees. Hint: if you can't think of a good location off-hand, scout out one during the day. Location found, head there about 45 minutes after sunset and start scanning the horizon with your binoculars.

Don't see the Moon right away? Don't panic, as the sky dims, the Moon will get easier to see, which means that it will often just suddenly 'pop' out of the darkness. Believe me, when it does, it's an exhilarating experience.

To add to the show,
Mars and Mercury will be within a few degrees of the Moon, which is close enough to fit them both in the field of 7x50 binoculars at the same time.

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