Something Fun Saturday Night! Turn Off The Lights And Look Outside

Written by on March 25, 2020

This Saturday,  March 28th starting at 8:30 , the world is going to celebrate Earth Hour. 

Millions of people will switch off their lights in support of nature and our planet.  You can get more details at www. 

Malibu resident Steve Uhring tells us that his friend … Malibu resident Judy Villablanca … has contacted an astronomer  friend of hers who provided a compelling reason for Malibu residents participate by turning off their lights and going  into the back yard to look up at the stars. 

Enjoying the night sky will not only take your mind off the “Stay At Home” mandate but will make you realize how lucky you are to be living here in Malibu.

This Saturday night …  during Earth Hour … we can see a beautiful crescent Moon, 20% illuminated.

If the skies are clear folks will able to see the unlit side, which is call Earthshine.  This is light, from the Sun, reflecting off Earth and illuminating the unlit part of the Moon. 

Not terribly far away, Venus will be brilliant.  No mistaking it.  If you see something so bright you think it will be landing at LAX, but it just seems to hang there, you are looking at the 2nd brightest object in the night time sky, after the moon, Venus. Folks with a telescope will see that it looks like a 1st quarter Moon (50% lit). 

Only Venus and Mercury have phases like the Moon, since they reside inside Earth’s orbit, closer to the Sun.

Just above Venus (and here is where lights off will help), is the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters star Cluster.  Many folks confuse it for the “little dipper”, since it has a bit of a dipper shape, but the Little Dipper of Ursa Minor is much bigger, and located due North. What I love about this cluster is that the light we see from it left those stars just about the time that Galileo first turned his telescope to the heavens!  It is about 440 light years away.  With a good pair of binoculars, the 6-7 stars that you can see naked eye, become 20 to 25 stars.  In a telescope, hundreds!  

Almost directly overhead you will have Castor and Pollux, the twin stars of Gemini.

Steve Uhring sent us this information, thanks!

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