Double or Triple Dating?

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   Tuesday evening after local time for sunset there will be an opportunity to see several interesting pairs of celestial objects divided among three planets, our Moon, and several asteroids as this graphic shows. Jupiter is the single this evening, over the southwestern horizon near the twin stars of Pollux and Castor. Higher above the southern horizon is the constellation Leo the Lion with its distinctive backward question mark star pattern. At the bottom of the question mark is one of the celestial pairs, the star Regulus and the nearby asteroid 2 Pallas. Continuing eastward is the Dwarf Planet Ceres paired up with one of the larger asteroids, Vesta. Mars and the blue-white star Spica form the base of a triangle with the two asteroids as the point. Looking further eastward for the third celestial pair, and outshining everything else is the very near full Moon and a few degrees away the planet Saturn.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   As this graphic shows the asteroid 2 Pallas is close enough to the star Regulus in Leo so that both fit within the field of view of binoculars. Regulus shines at magnitude 1.4 while about 2 degrees away is the 8th magnitude asteroid Pallas.

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

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