Fri., April 27 5:44 7:34
Sat., April 28 5:42 7:36
Sun., April 29 5:41 7:37
Mon., April 30 5:40 7:38
Tues., May 1 5:38 7:39
Wed., May 2 5:37 7:40
Thurs., May 3 5:36 7:41
Fri., May 4 5:34 7:42
The gibbous moon dominates our sky this weekend. On Monday night, it appears near the bright red planet Mars and both are near the bright star Regulus. All three form a close triangle in the zodiacal constellation Leo. Regulus is the principal and brightest star in Leo. Up against the brighter Mars and the moon, Regulus is not so impressive.
Regulus is a large star and 77 light years away. Regulus is bigger, brighter and hotter than our sun. Were the star to replace our Sun, our planet would be overwhelmed by the heat. Earth would be toast.
The moon also appears near Mars on Tuesday night, but appears farther east. The moon is a quarter million miles away from us.
A sign of spring is watching Arcturus, the bright orange star, rising in the east after sunset. Arcturus is the principal star in the constellation Bootes, the shepherd. Arcturus is half the distance from us than Regulus. Astronomers estimate Arcturus is 36.7 light years away. While not as hot as Regulus, it is considerably bigger. For purposes of comparison, if Arcturus were a basketball, our sun would be smaller than a golf ball.
Venus remains the brightest celestial object in our western sky after sunset. Venus remains above the horizon for several hours after sunset.