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On the Star Walk trail

Orion, the Hyades and the Pleiades along the Grossmugl Star Walk in Austria, only hours before the April 4 total lunar eclipse. See bright Venus on the right!

view larger. | Photo credit: project nightflight

Be sure to view larger. | Skywatchers are using a red flashlight to find their way along the public Star Walk in the municipality of Grossmugl, Austria. Photo via Project Nightflight.

With the coming of the warmer weather, people in Austria are returning to the Grossmugl Star Walk installation, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of Vienna.

This image was shot on the trail only a few hours before the April 4, 2015 total lunar eclipse. The nearly full moon was shining brightly, which illuminated the landscape and gave the sky a deep bluish hue.

The clouds parted for the wide-angle shot, which faces west and shows the prominent star patterns of Orion, the Hyades and the Pleiades. Venus shines brilliantly well above the dissolving clouds, preparing for its passage between the Hyades and the Pleiades on the nights around April 11-13.

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The dazzling planet swings closest to the Pleiades star cluster on or near April 11, and then sweeps most directly in between the Pleiades star cluster and the V-shaped Hyades star cluster around April 13.

Watch for the dazzling planet Venus, which will swing between two prominent star clusters in the coming evenings. It’ll be closest to the Pleiades star cluster on or near April 11, and then sweep most directly in between the Pleiades and V-shaped Hyades star cluster before mid-April.

The Grossmugl Star Walk is a permanent self-guided installation encouraging astronomical observations with the unaided eye. Nine displays along the 1.5 km long trail explain general astronomical topics in an easy-to-read way. Visitors read how to spot star colors, artificial satellites, the Milky Way and other objects in the night sky.

Project Nightflight designed the Sternenweg GroƟmugl and built it in close collaboration with the municipality of Grossmugl in 2014.

A detailed description of the Star Walk installation here.

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