Friday, March 18, 2016

Tonight's Sky for March 18: Moon Meets the Bees and Snake



Tonight, the Moon will be near a pair of objects that herald the changing of the seasons from winter into spring: the cosmic snake and bees. The key to the whole show is the Moon. Luna found, look below it for an oval shape of 5 stars, which represent the head of Hydra, the mythological water snake that is also the largest of all 88 constellations, snaking (sorry) its way through over 100 degrees of sky. Hydra found, hop back up straight to the Moon and, now grabbing binoculars, to a spot about the same distance above the Moon that Hydras head was below. If you're on target, you'll see a fuzzy patch of sky in small binoculars and even individual stars in large ones. What is this patch? It's the Beehive Cluster, also known as M44, one of the largest open clusters in all the sky. 

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