Tonight look toward the southeast around 9 p.m. to see the bright full moon low in the sky. Saturn will just above it.

Also try to find two fairly bright stars to the left (north) and slightly more toward the horizon than the moon. These are Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali, respectively from right to left. They will be dimmed considerably by the moon but are worth observing in a few days when the moon has moved.

Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali are two of my most favorite stars because of their weird names (I have to always be careful to look up their proper spelling) and because once found they become easily recognizable old friends in this part of the sky.

In ancient times they were considered to be the outstretched claws of Scorpius the Scorpion, because they are northwest of Scorpius. Zubenelgenubi is derived from an Arabic phrase meaning the Scorpion's southern claw, while Zubeneschamali is the northern claw.

These two stars are not related to each other, and they are actually in Libra the Scales, a dim constellation otherwise not easily found. They make Libra worthwhile. Give them a look.

Moon Watch

The moon is full today, rising at 7:15 tonight and setting at 6:15 Friday morning. Sunset tonight is at 7:01, with sunrise Friday morning at 5:42.

As a general rule, a full moon rises in the east while the sun is setting in the west; and it sets the next morning in the west as the sun rises in the east. This is another way of saying a full moon is on the opposite side of the Earth 180 degrees away from the sun. Today there is a partial lunar eclipse, but, unfortunately, it is not visible from North America.

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