# Astronomy events schedule

• Stargazing
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Hi everyone

Use this topic for posts about ongoing/upcoming stargazing events (e.g., comets, eclipses, occultations, meteor showers, etc.).

-Phobos

## Answers and Replies

Phobos: Do you mean ANY sky watch? There's one here in Sacramento, I think. It's supposed to be every last Friday of the month.

Mentat
My previous link didn't work.

Try this:

www.spaceweather.com

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Umm, I don't think the link works, Mentat.

Why are auroras only visible in Alaska?

Well for news on what is happening in april...

National Dark Sky Week starts in early April! go here

Help reduce light pollution and observe the night sky!

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Originally posted by MajinVegeta
Phobos: Do you mean ANY sky watch? There's one here in Sacramento, I think. It's supposed to be every last Friday of the month.

Star parties are ok to list here too. In general, I meant things like letting everyone know about upcoming astronomical events (like, events in the sky).

For example, you amateur astronomers might be interested to know that the asteroid Vesta will be visible (binocs, small 'scopes) later this month Peak magnitude on March 27.

see here for more details...
http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/asteroids/article_895_1.asp

Basically, use this topic to keep everyone informed of interesting things to watch for and offer advice for best viewing, etc.

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Don't know how much advance notice you need, but in August, Mars will be closer to Earth than it has been for 73,000 years. Its apparent diameter will be larger than Saturn's planetary disk is when Saturn is at opposition.

Yeah well Labguy I just ran and got my telescope ready anyways

That is quite interesting! I haven't gotten to use my new telescope much this winter because it has been too darn cloudy... HOPEFULLY it won't be this spring and summer!

For neat and detailed stuff, you can go to JPL's calendar and click on the month of your choice.

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/calendar/

For instance, go to Aug. 28th to find out the Mars info I mentioned above.

hmmm do you guys think I or Astronomer107 *looks for Astronomer107*

or just me I guess contact them to see if they could put NDSW on tehir calender?

By the way Astronomer107 should be rejoining PF soon she has been very busy she got web. press realeases and she has been interviewed twice and has been talking constantly to a few people at IDSA (international dark sky association)

J-Man
Excellent topic Phobos!

I don't really have much to add at this time, other than Jupiter is pretty darn bright. Last night the sky was overcast, but Jupiter still shown through the clouds. (At least by Notre Dame.) Amazing.
I think Jupiter is supposed to start moving West-to-East soon too.
(Saturn and Mars are still pretty bright right now too.)

Raavin
http://www.heavens-above.com is awesome. Register free, log in coordinates and let the site give you viewing times for different events and where to look. At the moment Comet Kudo-Fujikawa is just below the front foot of Orion (Betelgeuse), this is the data. I'll have to have a look tonight. Not sure if you can see 11.1 magnitude with the naked eye from the city. Don't know enough about it.

All data valid for local time 15:08:13, 28 Mar (UTC 04:08:13, 28 Mar)
Geocentric Data
Right Ascension (J2000): 5h 5m 6.8s
Declination (J2000): -11° 54' 23"
Constellation: Lepus
Magnitude: 11.1
Distance from Earth: 1.4735 AU
Light time: 735 seconds

Heliocentric Data
Distance from Sun: 1.4851 AU
Perihelion: 0.1901 AU
(29-Jan-2003)
Aphelion: 38,016.21 AU
Period: 2,620,714.4 years
Eccentricity: 0.999990
Inclination to ecliptic: 94.151°
Longitude of ascending node: 119.067°
Argument of perihelion: 187.561°

Raavin

Not sure if you can see 11.1 magnitude with the naked eye from the city. Don't know enough about it.
No, you couldn't. If you were in very dark skies in a very dark spot in the western US, magnitude 6 seen naked eye is considered very good seeing. The darkest I have ever seen was one night when a magnitude 6.9 star could be seen, but this is very rare. Magnitude 11 is usually considered near the limit for a good 8 inch telescope.

Sting
I heard from a math major who's taking the astronomy class at my school that there is a nebula or a new star forming in Orion's belt. Can anybody confirm that?

Originally posted by Sting
I heard from a math major who's taking the astronomy class at my school that there is a nebula or a new star forming in Orion's belt. Can anybody confirm that?
Yes, it is one of the largest star forming regions known.

http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/2000/19/

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Sting
Thanks Labguy!

I was just outside looking at Orion and it's just so amazing thinking of something like that going on while my eyes are on it (not literally of course).

J-Man
Some info for April skywatchers:
--------------------
Moon Phases:
April 1 - New
April 9 - 1st Quarter
April 16 - Full
April 23 - Last Quarter
--------------------
Planets Visible For April 2003: (as quoted from www.space.com)

-Mercury, having conjuncted with the Sun in March, is back in the evening sky. This month offers an excellent chance for to catch this illusive planet. Observational circumstances improve through April 16, when Mercury is at its "greatest elongation east," and then diminish. Look for it in the west-northwest as soon as it gets dark. Among the faint stars of Pisces and Aries, it sets an hour and a half to two hours after the Sun.

-Venus, while still in the morning sky, rises only a short while before the Sun and is not easy to see this month. If you insist, look very low in the east southeast at morning twilight.

-Mars rises several hours before the Sun, but doesn’t get very high in the sky before dawn. (The farther South you go, the better it gets. In fact, observers in the Southern Hemisphere see it quite high in the sky before dawn.) Mars starts the month in Sagittarius and ends in Capricornus. While it is not exceptionally bright, its ruddy color makes it stand out.

-Jupiter, having been in retrograde motion since early December, becomes stationary on April 4 and thereafter resumes normal forward (eastward) motion among the stars. It moves slowly through the faint stars of Cancer, beginning the month very near the "Beehive" star cluster (M44). Both should fit nicely into a binocular field of view, with Jupiter slightly below and to the left of the cluster in the early evening, just to the left later on.

-Saturn is fairly well up in the early evening southestern sky, in "horns" of Taurus, the Bull. It lingers near the star Zeta Tauri, above Orion and some 7 or 8 degrees below the star cluster M35 at the feet of Gemini. But look early, Saturn sets by midnight or before.
--------------------
Sunday, 4/6
Daylight Saving Time returns, 2 a.m.
(Except for me, I switch time zones. Really!)
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Tuesday, 4/22
Lyrid Meteors, 1:00 p.m.

The timing for this meteor shower emanating from the constellation Lyra is not good. However, this shower is actually spread out quite a bit, so even if you can’t observe peak time (mid-day) you may be able to see some meteors in the hours before dawn on both Tuesday and Wednesday. If you’re an early bird, Lyra is high in the east-southeast at about 4 a.m. There will be a bright Moon in the sky at that time, too.
--------------------

Use this from the US Naval Observatory to get about anything you need except for sky charts.

http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/ [Broken]

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Nebula
Jupiter near the Beehive Cluster

Break out your binoculars folks because M44 also known as Beehive star cluster is near Jupiter in tonight’s sky. Binoculars are a great way to view this if you have a good clear sky. I wide field of view will let you get a good glimpse of the cluster and Jupiter.

Astronomy Picture of the Day:
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap030403.html

Sky and Telescope has more:
http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/planets/article_897_1.asp

And, Saturn is moving East again, (was retrograde) and is quite high in the western sky after sunset. Last night I got a hell of a view of Saturn and the Crab Nebula in the same field of view using a low power eyepiece in two different telescopes. I didn't check any sky program, but they appeared to be about 0.8 degrees apart. Should be moving closer in the next week or so.

Check it out. There won't be many chances to see something like this very often.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member

Originally posted by Nebula
Break out your binoculars folks because M44 also known as Beehive star cluster is near Jupiter in tonight’s sky.

thanks, Nebula
I checked it out last night.
M44 is usually tough for me because of light pollution around my home.

J-Man
Sky-Watcher Info for May 2003 (Sources: space.com, heavens-above.com)
=======================
Moon Phases:
-May 1 - New Moon
-May 9 - 1st Quarter
-May 15 - Full
-May 22 - Last Quarter
-May 31 - New Moon

-May 15 - Lunar Eclipse - This Full Moon marks the first time a total lunar eclipse has been visible anywhere in North America since January 9, 2001. The full eclipse can be seen in roughly the Eastern third of the continent, while the remainder witnesses varying stages. The umbral phase of partial eclipse begins at 10:03 p.m. Totality begins at approximately 11:14 p.m., greatest eclipse is 11:40 p.m., and totality is over by 12:07 a.m. on Friday. The umbral phase of partiality is over at 1:17 a.m. (I'm not sure what time-zone, I would guess EDT.)
-May 31 - New Moon, 12:20 a.m. (Annular Eclipse) Eclipses tend to come in pairs, so this New Moon provides the solar complement to mid-May’s total lunar eclipse. This annular eclipse of the Sun is visible throughout much of Eastern and Northern Europe, Central Asia, the Arctic, and northern parts of the Middle East. Unfortunately, most of North America except far Northwestern Canada and Alaska will miss out entirely.

--------
Planets:
-Mars slowly but surely continues to brighten as we head toward an historically close approach in late August. Rising in Capricornus an hour or so after midnight, it is still relatively low in the southeastern sky at sunrise. Now in the negative magnitudes, Mars is brighter than any star in its vicinity of the sky.
-Jupiter, in Cancer about half-way between Gemini and Leo, still dominates the evening sky and is impossible to miss because it is so bright. It is almost overhead around 8 p.m. but slightly toward the west at the beginning of the month. Its nightly procession of moons provides fascination in a small telescope, but only the four largest (of the 60 or so now known) can be seen. Look early, though, as Jupiter sets by roughly 1 a.m.
-Saturn, although still bright, is low in the west at sunset, roughly between Aldebaran (Taurus) and Pollux (Gemini). Unfortunately, the Sun is rushing toward a conjunction with Saturn in late June, and the Ringed Planet is all but lost in the solar glare by the end of the month.
-Mercury, is in the dawn skies but cannot be easily seen, laying quite low on the eastern horizon for most to of the month.
-Venus, like Mercury, is low in the east at sunrise, but a bit higher and much brighter. Overall, however, it is still too close to the Sun to be observed easily.

-May 7 - Mercury transits the sun
-May 7,8 - Moon approaches Jupiter
-May 21 - Moon approaches Mars in SouthEastern predawn sky, costellation of Capricornus. Neptune is also near, but requires telescope.
-May 28 - Moon approaches Venus, Mercury, dawn. The hairline Crescent Moons nears Venus and Mercury about a half hour before sunrise in the eastern sky. The Moon is less than 10 degrees high, and Venus lower still to the left. Tiny Mercury is a couple of degrees from Venus, at the four-o'clock position. Caution: This is a difficult observation requiring clear skies and an unobstructed eastern horizon. (The Moon occults or eclipses Venus at about midnight, but this cannot be seen in North America. Observers in the Indian Ocean area and the Far East are well-placed, however.)

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Comets:
-Comet NEAT (C/2002 V1): In Constellation Eridanus, Magnitude 13.0. http://heavens-above.com/comet.asp?cid=C%2F2002+V1&Session=kebgcgpjkoioofaijpeopjdp [Broken]
-Comet Kudo-Fujikawa (C/2002 X5): Near the border of Orion (top) and Tarus (left), Magnitude 14.0. (Saturn might be in the way at the moment, give it a day or three.) http://heavens-above.com/comet.asp?cid=C%2F2002+X5&Session=kebgcgpjkoioofaijpeopjdp [Broken]

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Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/space/05/11/lunar.eclipse.ap/index.html [Broken]

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Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
#$%@$ cloudy night

J-Man
Originally posted by Phobos
#$%@$ cloudy night
I second that!

J-Man
More comets on the way:
Possibly visible Spring 2004 - The comet NEAT designated as C/2001 Q4 (as opposed to C/2002 V1 mentioned above - both discovered by the NEAT team.)
and comet C/2002 T7 (LINEAR) might be visible as well around May 2004.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=96&ncid=96&e=1&u=/space/20030516/sc_space/comet_could_brighten_night_skies_next_spring [Broken]

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J-Man
In case you haven't heard...
There will be a partial solar eclipse on May 31. It should be observable in the Northern Hemisphere, best viewed in Europe/MiddleEast/North Africa area. North America should be able to view it also I think I remember.

*WARNING* Do NOT look directly at the sun, ever!
Instead use the 'ol pin-hole camera or good filters.

J-Man
Skywatcher's Information for June 2003
Some information from www.space.com,[/url] [url]www.astronomy.com[/URL]
---------------------------------------------

Moon Phases:
June 7 - 1st Quarter
June 14 - Full Moon
June 21 - Last Quarter
June 29 - New Moon

-------------------

Planets:
-Mercury is poorly placed for observation this month. It reaches greatest western elongation on the 3rd, meaning that it is at its farthest point from the Sun as seen from Earth (about 24 degrees this time) and in the morning sky. Although this usually is a good thing for observers, in this instance the planet hugs the horizon and is still quite low at sunrise. It is near Venus however, which may slightly improve the chances of observing it. Look very low in the East-northeast just at the beginning of dawn.

Venus is not well-placed for observing during June. However, it is much brighter than Mercury, and if you can find one, you may be able to find the other. Venus is only a few degrees high, and thus you need a very low horizon, but look to the East-northeast about a half hour before sunrise.

Mars rises at roughly 1 a.m. in Capricornus at the beginning of the month and before midnight in Aquarius at the end. It is reasonably well placed for observing shortly before dawn in the southeastern sky, shining at a bright minus one magnitude. Its brightness and observability continue to improve until its "super opposition" at the end of August.

Jupiter is the only observable planet in the evening sky this month. Look for it in the western sky at nightfall, in Cancer. Although low in the sky, it is still bright and a small telescope reveals its family of Galilean Moons – the same satellites discovered by Galileo nearly 400 years ago.

Saturn, in Taurus, is just too close to the Sun this month to be observed from the Northern Hemisphere. It conjuncts with the Sun (that is, it is more or less in line with the Sun) on June 24.

-------------------

Day-by-day for June 2003: (Day-of-the-week, Month/Day)

Sunday, 6/1
-Saturn 4 degrees south of moon.

Thursday, 6/5
-Moon passes Jupiter, 2:00 a.m.
(Jupiter 4 degrees south of moon.)
The Moon and Jupiter are below the western horizon when this event occurs, but you can see the nearly First Quarter Moon approaching Jupiter among the stars of Cancer earlier in the evening. They never really get all that close (about 4 degrees or 8 times the diameter of the Full Moon), but make a nice site in the western sky.

Saturday, 6/7
-First Quarter Moon, 4:28 p.m.
The Moon is just on the western side of a line drawn from the point on the horizon due South to the zenith (a "meridian") at sunset on this evening in a distinctive letter "D" shape. The First Quarter Moon is 90 degrees to the left of the Sun. If the Sun sat due west, then the First Quarter Moon would be due south at sunset. However, in the late Spring and Summer the Sun sets farther to the north and in effect drags the Moon along with it. Thus the First Quarter Moons of Summer are a bit farther to the west at sunset.
Also this day, apparently, Uranus looks stationary.

Monday, 6/9
-Pluto at opposition.

Thursday, 6/12
-Moon at perigee.

Saturday, 6/14
-Full Moon, 7:16 a.m.
This is the Full Moon nearest the June Solstice; it is low in the sky, thus giving it a more yellow or honey golden appearance due to the thicker layers of air through which its light must pass.

Tuesday, 6/17
-Neptune 5 degrees north of moon.

Wednesday, 6/18
-Venus 5 degrees north of Aldebaran.

Thursday, 6/19
-Mars 1.7 degrees north of moon - Moon Passes Mars, 2 a.m.
-Uranus 5 degrees north of moon.
-Mercury 4 degrees north of Aldebaran.
At the closest point, the Moon is only about 1.7 degrees south of Mars (just more than three lunar diameters). This specific event is visible in the southeast quadrant of the sky from Eastern North America. In much of the West the pair have not risen at this time, but are still be quite close when then do rise.

Friday, 6/20
-Mars 3 degrees south of Uranus.
-Venus passes Mercury, 10:00 p.m.
Venus and Mercury are in the morning sky, so this event is not visible in the evening. However, you can look before dawn on both Friday and Saturday mornings. This is not an easy observation, however, as both planets are very close to the Sun and close to being lost in the glare. A half hour before sunrise they are only a few degrees above the East-northeastern horizon. A clear sky, a low horizon, sharp eyes and probably binoculars are needed.

Saturday, 6/21
-Last Quarter Moon, 10:45 a.m.
It rises again after midnight and doesn't set until after noon Sunday. As the First Quarter Moon is 90 degrees to the left (East) of the Sun as viewed from the Northern Hemisphere of Earth, the Last Quarter Moon is 90 degrees to the right (West).
-Solstice, 3:10 p.m.
The Sun reaches its farthest point North for the year, meaning that in North America and Europe (and all of the Northern Hemisphere north of the tropic of Cancer) the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky at local solar noon. This is also the longest day of the year. In Britain this is traditionally known as "midsummer," but in the U.S. it marks the official (or astronomical) beginning of Summer. By contrast, at the South Pole, which has already experienced three months without the Sun and expect three more, this is the darkest day of the year.

Tuesday, 6/24
-Saturn in conjunction with sun.
-Moon at apogee.

Sunday, 6/29
-New Moon, 2:39 p.m.
New Moon really means "no Moon" because you can't see it at all except during an eclipse such as the one that happened last month. This month, however, the Moon passes to the North of the Sun by a few degrees and is completely lost in the glare. It likely will not be glimpsed again until Tuesday evening, when it appears as a thin thumbnail in the western evening twilight.

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Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
J-man, this is the same info used by astrologists who try to incorporate as much scientific data in their interpretations as much as they can

if they don't, then they are not true astrologists

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Everyone getting ready for the best viewing of Mars in thousands of years? (unless it's a cloudy summer)

http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/planets/article_985_1.asp

J-Man
Originally posted by Kerrie
J-man, this is the same info used by astrologists who try to incorporate as much scientific data in their interpretations as much as they can

if they don't, then they are not true astrologists
Okay...
At least somebody is reading this stuff.

J-Man
Skywatcher's Information for July 2003
Some information from www.space.com,[/url] [url]www.astronomy.com[/URL]
======================================================

Moon phases:
------------
July 6 - 1st quarter
July 13 - Full moon
July 21 - Last quarter
July 29 - New moon

Planets: (This part may need updating later this month, I'm not sure I have it all correct.)
--------
-Mercury is still poorly placed for observation for most of July. It may be viewed in the morning sky near the horizon at the beginnning of the month. Look very low in the East-northeast just at the beginning of dawn. Later in the month, a half hour after sunset it is only a few degrees above the west-northwestern horizon.

-Venus, like Mercury, is not all that well-placed for observing during July. Venus is low to the horizon, but look to the East-northeast before and around sunrise at the beginning of the month.

-Mars rises before midnight in Aquarius at the beginning of the month. Its brightness and observability continue to improve until its "super opposition" at the end of August.

-Jupiter is in the western sky at nightfall, (in or to the West of Cancer?). Although low in the sky, it is still bright.

-Saturn is still too close to the Sun in early July to be observed from the Northern Hemisphere. It conjuncted with the Sun (that is, it is more or less in line with the Sun) on June 24. Later in the month it may be viewable.

Day-by-day: (All times ET unless noted)
-----------
Wednesday, 7/2
-Moon passes Jupiter, 5 p.m. (Jupiter 4 degrees south of moon)
This is similar to the passage last month, but the Moon is much thinner. The closest passage (about 4 degrees) comes in late afternoon, but the two are visible in the western twilight shortly after sunset. Jupiter will be just below the thin crescent Moon.
-Juno stationary

Friday, 7/4
-Earth at Aphelion, 2 a.m.
You could get up early to watch this, but don't expect fireworks (they come later). There really is nothing in particular to see. The aphelion is that point in the Earth's orbit at which it is farthest from the Sun. In this case it is 152,100,400 km (94,511,000 miles) away from our local life-giving luminary.

Saturday, 7/5
-Mercury in superior conjunction

Sunday, 7/6
-First Quarter Moon, 10:32 p.m.
Look for this "D" Moon in the southwest quadrant of the sky earlier in the evening, with Spica in Virgo about 10 degrees to the lower left. About 30 degrees above and slightly to the left is bright Arcturus in Bootes.

Tuesday, 7/8
-Venus 0.8° north of Saturn

Thursday, 7/10
-Moon at perigee

Sunday, 7/13
-Full Moon, 3:21 p.m.
In a kind of seesaw arrangement, while the Sun is high in the Summer, the Full Moon is low. This Full Moon will rise shortly after sunset, and at its highest point, which it reaches after midnight, it is low in the southern sky between Sagittarius and Capricornus. Full Moon Fever

Wednesday, 7/16
-Uranus 5 degrees north of moon

Thursday, 7/17
-Moon passes Mars, 4 a.m.
This is very close passage between the Moon and Mars. In fact, it is an occultation (eclipse) as viewed from locations in Central America, parts of the Pacific Ocean and elsewhere. Unfortunately for most folks in the populous areas of the Northern Hemisphere, this is just a close approach and passage, but it should be quite a nice sight, with Mars less than the width of the Moon away from the lunar orb.

Monday 7/21
-Last Quarter Moon, 3:01 a.m.
Between the two quarter Moons (first and last, or third) the Last Quarter is the one less observed. In fact, it is above the horizon and potentially visible just as much as the First Quarter Moon, but it has poor timing. On the average, this Moon rises around midnight, after most folks have gone to bed. It is in the sky until about noon the next day, but few people notice it in the bright day lit sky.

Tuesday, 7/22
-Moon at apogee

Friday, 7/25
-Mercury passes Jupiter, 9 p.m. (Mercury 0.4 degrees north of Jupiter)
These two planets are very close in the western twilight. At closest approach they are separated by only about a third of a degree. Unfortunately, a half hour after sunset they are only a few degrees above the west-northwestern horizon. Given clear skies and a low view to the west, they should be visible perhaps 15 degrees to the left of the setting point of the Sun. Look with binoculars. Mercury is only slightly dimmer than Jupiter, and is just above and to the right of the King of Planets.

Saturday, 7/26
-Saturn 4 degrees south of moon

Sunday, 7/27
-Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower "starts" (see Monday 7/28)

Monday, 7/28
-South Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower peak, 2 a.m.
Although hardly comparable to the Persieds coming up in about two weeks, the South Delta Aquarids have a major advantage this year – no Moon to interfere. This shower radiates from Aquarius, which at 2 a.m. is well up in the south-southeastern sky, to the left of the "boomerang" shape of Capricornus. At peak, a sharp-eyed observer with clear dark skies should see about 20 meteors per hour. (This shower has a broad peak, so if you miss it by a day one way or the other, you should still see meteors from the shower.)

Tuesday, 7/29
-New Moon, 2:53 a.m.
You can't see it, but it improves star, planet and meteor watching.
-Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower continues

Wednesday, 7/30
-Delta Aquarid meteor shower continues
-Mars stationary
-Jupiter 4 degrees south of moon
-Mercury 0.2 degrees north of Regulus
-Mercury 5 degrees south of moon
-Jupiter, Mercury & the Moon, early evening
This is a difficult observation, quite low in the west-northwestern sky shortly after sunset. Lowest in the sky is Jupiter, now significantly brighter than Mercury, which is a few degrees above and the left of the brighter planet. The star Regulus is just to the lower right of Mars, and a very thin Crescent Moon is just above it and to the right. The Moon is the highest of all of these in the sky, but even it is only 8-10 degrees high about a half-hour after sunset.

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