Bakersfield Night Sky
By Nick Strobel
(appeared November 3, 2007)
In the early evening sky tonight Jupiter is still the first starlike object you will see just after sunset, It will be low in the southwest, setting a little after 8 PM. Mars will shine brightly starting at around 10 PM in the northeast at the feet of Gemini. Later at around midnight Mars will much higher in the east. In the next few days, Mars will stop its eastward drift through Gemini and start moving backward ("retrograde") toward Taurus.
In the pre-dawn sky looking east you will see the very bright Venus below the eastern (left) end of Leo. The waning crescent Moon will be slightly higher below the middle of Leo. Higher still closer to Regulus at the bottom west end of Leo is Saturn.
A surprise in the sky is Comet Holmes (17P). Usually quite dim, visible only in a telescope, the comet brightened nearly a million times to become visible to the naked eye on October 24th. You will see it as a new yellow-orange "star" on the eastern (left) side of Perseus. With binoculars or a telescope, Comet Holmes will be a fuzzy ball. The attached chart shows where to look in Perseus in the evening for the next couple of weeks. It became so bright because of a sudden eruption of dust and gas. We probably will not see much of a tail because it should be pointing almost directly away from us. It will remain in Perseus until mid- to late-March.
Want to see more of the stars
at night and save energy? Shield your lights so that the light
only goes down toward the light.
See www.darksky.org for how.
Director of the William M Thomas Planetarium at Bakersfield College
Author of the award-winning website www.astronomynotes.com
last updated: January 7, 2008
Webpage contact: Nick Strobel