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Moon, Saturn, Spica in west after sunset on August 2

2 Aug 2011, 08:01 UTC
Moon, Saturn, Spica in west after sunset on August 2
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Watch for the waxing crescent moon, the planet Saturn and the star Spica to pop out into the west-southwest sky as evening dusk gives way to darkness.

Shortly after sunset today, watch for the waxing crescent moon, the planet Saturn and the star Spica to pop out in the west-southwest sky as evening dusk gives way to darkness. Even though Saturn and Spica may appear nearly equal in brightness, there are ways to tell one from the other.
Planets tend to shine with a steadier light than the twinkling stars. Does one of these two starlike points of light appear to flicker? If so, that sparkly light is probably Spica. Likely, the steadier light is Saturn.
Spica: Speed on
Also, to distinguish Saturn from Spica, note their colors. Saturn appears yellowish or golden whereas Spica sparkles blue-white. If you have difficulty seeing color with the unaided eye, try looking at these celestial gems with binoculars.
Top tips for using ordinary binoculars for stargazing
A reader asked us why the lit portion of the lunar crescent appears on the side of the moon that it does. In short, the horns of the crescent moon point away from the sun. From mid-northern ...

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