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Star of the week: Spica

Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo, is a whirling double star. How to see it in your sky.

Find Vega, near Lyrid meteor radiant point

Finally! A meteor shower when the moon is (relatively) dark. Watch the mornings of April 21-23. We expect the peak morning to be April 22 for the Lyrids in 2017.

Big Dipper to Polaris and Little Dipper

The star Polaris – aka the North Star – marks the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. The two outer stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper always point to Polaris.

Last quarter moon rises around midnight

You might spot the moon after sunrise on April 18 or 19, high in the sky. Did you know a last quarter moon is slightly fainter than a first quarter moon? Learn why here.

Where’s the moon? Waning gibbous

Watch for the moon late at night now, or before dawn. Last quarter moon will come on the night of April 18-19.

Sundial and clock agree in middle April

Every year in mid-April, clock time and sun time agree. That means that, when the midday sun climbs highest, the sundial reads 12 noon and your local clock says 12 noon.

See a daytime moon around now

These next few mornings are a good time to look for a daytime moon. Look west in the hours shortly after sunrise.

Mizar and Alcor, famous double star

Find Mizar and its fainter companion star Alcor in the Big Dipper’s handle.

M13: Great Cluster in Hercules

Stargazers agree that the Great Cluster in the constellation Hercules – also known as M13 – is the finest globular cluster in the northern half of the heavens.

How do you star hop?

Find new stars and constellations by star hopping from ones you already know.

Leo? Here’s your constellation

Leo the Lion is one of the easiest constellations to identify in the night sky. April and May are superb months to spot it.

Full moon near Jupiter April 10-11

Full moon comes on April 11 at 6:08 UTC. For the Americas, that means full moon happens tonight. As the 1st full moon of northern spring, it fixes the date of Easter Sunday.

The Coma Cluster of galaxies

The Coma Cluster is one of the richest galaxy clusters known. How many suns and how many worlds might be located in this direction of space?

Cor Caroli, the Heart of Charles

Cor Caroli is a binary star and the brightest star in the northern constellation Canes Venatici, the Hunting Dogs.

Earth between Jupiter and sun April 7

This is Jupiter’s yearly opposition. It’s rising in the east as the sun sets in the west, brightest and best in the sky for this year!

Big Dipper to Arcturus, Spica, Jupiter

Follow the arc in the Big Dipper’s handle to the star Arcturus, drive a spike to the star Spica. In the process, you’ll also notice Jupiter, now just 2 days from its April 7 opposition.

Moon near Gemini stars on April 3

Gemini’s 2 brightest stars – Castor and Pollux – represent twins in many cultures.

Moon in Winter Circle on April 2

Sure, it’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn down south. But the great pattern of the Winter Circle is still visible, and the moon is moving through it.

Extend Big Dipper’s handle to Spica

Use the Big Dipper to arc to the star Arcturus. Then drive a spike to the star Spica on these springtime evenings!

Mimosa, 2nd-brightest in Southern Cross

To glimpse Mimosa, you need to be at the latitude of New Orleans, Cairo or New Delhi. From the southern hemisphere, Mimosa is a prominent and beloved star.