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Mar 10

The late winter early spring sky

Now that the moon is out of the way in the evening sky, take the opportunity to find some of the late winter, early spring constellations. If you have been looking at the sky regularly and at the same time each night (21h00 is a good time), you will have noticed that Orion has slowly “drifted” to the right (west) and its position has been replaced by other stars. The constellations that will dominate this part of the sky for the next month or so are Gemini (The Twins), Cancer (The Crab) and Leo (The Lion), all three being constellations of the Zodiac.

All three are interesting, but not all are easy to find; Gemini is very easy to find, just look for the two bright stars called Castor and Pollux. They represent the heads of the twins, while fainter stars sketch out two bodies; although Cancer the Crab is one of the more famous constellations, it is mostly made of dim stars; Leo's head and mane are formed by an asterism known as the Sickle which looks like a backward question mark, one of the brightest spring stars, Regulus being at the base of the question mark.

Try to find these constellations in the sky and over the next few postings will take a look at some of the interesting objects that can be seen with a pair of binoculars or a small telescope – double stars, star clusters, galaxies ……….

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