Sunrise Sunset

Fri., July 16 5:20 8:14

Sat., July 17 5:21 8:13

Sun., July 18 5:22 8:12

Mon., July 19 5:23 8:11

Tues., July 20 5:24 8:11

Wed., July 21 5:24 8:10

Thurs., July 22 5:25 8:09

Fri., July 23 5:26 8:08

The crescent moon appears high in the southwestern sky after sunset tonight. It is in the zodiacal constellation Virgo. The moon moves into the first quarter phase on Saturday and appears close to one of the brightest stars in the night, the bright star Spica, also in Virgo. Virgo is a large constellation that extends along the zodiac. The moon will spend two days in Virgo.

Virgo holds a hidden view of the universe. Astronomers often have pointed the Hubble telescope into Virgo, for they know that far beyond the faint stars we see there are millions of distant galaxies. There is a cloud of them that can be seen by amateur astronomers with backyard telescopes, but for the world’s largest telescopes sitting on mountaintops, even more can be seen beyond those galaxies. There are so many, astronomers refer to them all as the Virgo cluster of galaxies.

Spica is not so far away. The star resides in our own Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers estimate that the huge star is 292 light years away. That means it takes light 292 years to travel here. Were it possible to extinguish the bright star, we wouldn’t know about it for 292 years.