From the ABC 7 Weather team

Beautiful Sight in Evening Sky

March 26, 2012 - 05:45 PM
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Look for This Tonight

It’s going to be a beautiful clear evening and night. Perhaps not great for those early plants that are far ahead of the season with this record warm March. There is a freeze warning for much of the area. But with this clear dry air, it will be perfect to view another conjunction after sunset. Best time (I’ll be taking a look for sure) is 7:30-8:30 or 9PM. This is what you’ll see. 

ZZZZZ

 

 The crescent moon will be right next to Venus which is as high in the evening sky as it ever gets and about as bright as it ever gets. Tonight shining at magnitude -4.4. A diamond in the sky. It and Jupiter are so bright that they don’t “twinkle” like the stars. The stars light as is passes through our atmosphere moves through little turbulence or little eddies in the air that produces the twinkle or scintillation.
Enjoy this great free show in the evening sky and then also think about the distances. The moon tonight is about 250,000 miles away. By the way you can see the part of the moon not illuminated by the sun due to "earth shine".  Sunlight reflected from the earth into space can illuminate the mooon also. Venus “right next” to the moon is actually 65 million miles away from you tonight and Jupiter lower in the sky is 530 million miles away. If your sky is dark you should be able to see that fuzzy cluster of young (only about 100 million miles old) stars called the “Pleiades”. We measure great distances by the speed of light. Light travels at 186,000 miles a second. So the moon is “only” a bit over 1 light second away. Venus is almost 6 light minutes away, Jupiter’s light takes over 47 minutes to reach your eye and the Pleiades . . . 440 light YEARS away. Enjoy the sight and if you see the beautiful Pleiades, you’re seeing them as they were 440 years ago. The evening sky can be a time machine too.

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