Sky Spy: Moon will be a good pointer for stars

2013-02-21T00:00:00Z 2014-07-01T17:07:21Z Sky Spy: Moon will be a good pointer for starsTim Hunter Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 21, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The moon will be in the east in the late afternoon sky, and grow more prominent as the sun gets lower in the west.

The moon is actually visible in the daytime sky a good part of the month. It is dimmed by the bright sky, but it is often readily visible if you know where to look.

Sunset tonight is at 6:15. After the sky darkens, look high in the eastern sky to find the moon. At 7:30 p.m. it will be nearly 60 degrees above the eastern horizon.

Slightly above the moon will be Gemini the Twins and slightly below the moon will be Canis Minor the Lesser Dog.

Canis Minor and Canis Major are the two faithful dogs following Orion the Hunter in the sky.

Canis Minor consists of only two stars, the brightest of which is Procyon, the eighth brightest star in the sky. The other star in Canis Minor is Gomeisa. Gomeisa is a relatively bright star but outshone by Procyon, because Procyon is only 11.4 light years away while Gomeisa is at a distance of 170 light years. Gomeisa actually emits 250 times the energy of the sun and has a mass three times that of the sun.

The moon tonight is a good pointer to the twins Castor and Pollux, the 23rd and 17th brightest stars in the sky, respectively. Tonight they will be above and to the left (north) of the moon with Pollux being the closest to the moon and Castor above it.

The constellation Gemini somewhat looks like twins and is bright and easily recognizable, though it will be dimmed by the bright moon. Give it a try.

Moon Watch

The moon rises today at 2:42 p.m. It is in a waxing (growing larger) gibbous (more than half lit) phase, becoming full on Monday.

Contact Tim Hunter at

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