Robert Victor is a retired astronomer from Michigan State University's Abrams Planetarium and now living in Palm Springs. He'll be offering free sky watches in April in the Tahquitz River Estates Neighborhood. (Residents of other neighborhoods are welcome, too!) The sessions will be held on the pedestrian bridge over Tahquitz Creek, at North Riverside Drive and Camino Real, three blocks north of Cahuilla Elementary School. Parking will be available on Camino Real, either north or south of the bridge.
There will be two series of weekly sky watches: The first will be held at dusk every Monday, to observe Mars shifting nearly 5 degrees each week against the beautiful background stars of Taurus the Bull, and a mix of winter and spring stars, including Orion, the Hunter, the “Dog Star” Sirius, the brightest star in Earth’s night skies, and golden Arcturus, the “Bear-watcher”, brightest star overhead in Northern Hemisphere locations.
The other series will be held early every Sunday morning, when we will preview the stars as we’ll see them again in a few months, on warm summer evenings. These include Vega and the Summer Triangle, and the red supergiant star Antares, heart of the Scorpion. In these April morning sessions we’ll also provide telescopic views of two showpiece planets, Jupiter with its four bright moons and Saturn with its amazing rings. Venus and Mercury, rising in the brightening eastern twilight glow, will bring the morning planet tally to four.
Evening sky watches are scheduled for every Monday in April, as follows:
April 1, from 7:45 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.;
April 8 and 15, from 8:00 until 8:45 p.m.; and
April 22 and 29, from 8:15 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
Predawn sky watches are scheduled for every Sunday in April, as follows:
April 7, from 5:00 until 5:45 a.m.;
April 14 and 21, 4:45 until 5:30 a.m.; and
April 28, 4:30 until 5:15 a.m.
Close-up views of the Moon, when visible, will also be included. All sessions are contingent on clear skies at the scheduled times.
Astronomical Society of the Desert: www.astrorx.org
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Abrams Planetarium Sky Calendar:
Rancho Mirage Library Observatory:
Sky’s the Limit Observatory and Nature Center in Twentynine Palms: