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Moon close to Spica again on May 29


Tonight is May 29, 2015

Moon Phase Courtesy U.S. Naval Observatory

Tonight – May 29, 2015 – the bright waxing gibbous moon again shines close to the star Spica. This star is the brightest one in the large, dim constellation Virgo, and also a key star of the Zodiac, the narrow band of stars in front of which the sun, moon and planets forever travel.

Because Spica is within the Zodiac – and because the moon travels on the Zodiac – you’ll see the moon pair up with Spica once (or sometimes twice) a month. If you watch, you can see that happen in the months ahead.

This year, in 2015, the sun will pass in front of the constellation Virgo from September 16 to October 31, and have its yearly conjunction with the star Spica around mid-October. At that juncture, Spica will transition out of the evening sky and into the morning sky. But Spica probably won’t be far enough from the glare of sunrise to become visible until early November 2015.

By the end of November 2015, it’ll be easy to see the star Spica in the predawn sky. Venus, which is now an evening planet, will transition over to the morning sky around mid-August 2015, or about two months before Spica shifts over into the morning sky in mid-October.

Remember, you can always find Spica by using the Big Dipper as a guide, as shown on the chart below.

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Use the Big Dipper to locate the stars Arcturus and Spica for months to come.

Use the Big Dipper to locate the stars Arcturus and Spica for months to come.

Bottom line: Let the bright waxing gibbous moon show you the star Spica – brightest light in the constellation Virgo – on the evening of May 29, 2015.

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