This is our sidewalk astronomy weekend.  Join us in Pasadena Friday night from 7-10 p.m. somewhere along colorado Blvd in Old Town Pasadena, and Saturday Night from 7-9:30 in Monrovia.  Weather looks good!

Also, on Saturday night in Hollywood there is a local Yuri's Night Celebration  at Cinespace 6356 Hollywood Blvd. Tickets can be purchased at

Saturday the 12th is also International Sidewalk Astronomy Night and there are some more local events posted on the website's world map.  At the Marine Mammal Center in San Pedro, and at Keystone and Chandler in Burbank , and also at San Fernando and Palm (near Ben and Jerry's) in Burbank. If these are more convenienbt than our locations, join these nice sidewalk astronomers at some other events this weekend.  :-)

In the spirit of Yuri's Night, celebrating the anniversary of human exploration of space, here is a map of the moon showing all the landing sites.

And finally, there is a good ISS pass on Saturday night 8:23 p.m. PDT   - the space station will be visible in the north and will pass right through the big dipper's bowl - at 52 degrees above the horizon.  It will enter Earth shadow at 8:27 p.m. to the East below Saturn. More challenging, and closer to the horizon is the Hubble Telescope pass on Saturday night.  Beginning at 9:07 p.m. look low in the west 10 degrees above the horizon.  It reaches maximum altitude 25 degrees above the horizon, and also enters Earth's shadow at 9:13, when it is near the bright star Sirius in the SSW.   The Hubble Telescope is much fainter than the ISS.

April 2008 Highlights
Saturn is the major planet visible in April. Nothing elicits a wow like Saturn does! It's visible all night now, and it is higher in the sky and visible right after sunset. Mars dims a bit this month, but it's still nice and high in the sky and well worth a look.  What's Up for March talks about these, plus a fun planetary nebula recently studied by Spitzer, and visible through medium sized telescopes.

Here's a fun project for you - if you can see some bright stars from your home, then you may be able to see the winter circle of stars.  No telescope required - just look up!  The winter stars rotate towards the west, making room for the galaxies of spring. The constellation of Orion and its neighbors contain what is called the Winter Circle of Stars Most of these bright stars are even visible from the city!  Look on any star chart and find Orion, Canis Major, Canis Minor, Gemini, Auriga and Taurus, circling westward as winter ends. These six constellations contain a visible "circle" of very bright and colorful stars. If you can imagine the circle as a clock, we'll begin with Capella, yellow like our sun in the one o'clock position. Capella is the bright yellow star in the constellation Auriga, found above the shoulders of Orion. Red Aldebaran, the eye of the bull Taurus is at the three o'clock position. Red stars are the oldest and coolest. At five o'clock stands Rigel, the brilliant blue knee of Orion, the hunter. Rigel is young and very hot! Diamond white Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, is below Orion in the constellation Canis Major, the great dog. It fills the seven o'clock position. At nine o'clock is Procyon, another yellow star like our sun, in the constellation Canis Minor. The Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux complete the circle at 10 o'clock. Castor is white and Pollux (the brighter of the twins) is red. Within the circle are red Betelgeuse, the shoulder of Orion, and blue/purple stars Alnitak and Mintaka, the pretty belt stars of the constellation Orion.

Yearning for more views? Spring galaxies require dark skies. We occasionally drive to the Colorado Desert South of of Joshua Tree National Park. Where we go is off I-10 about 30 miles east of Indio, on a 2-mile dirt road on BLM land, with no "facilities." There is not room for a lot of cars, but if you are interested, contact me or Mojo for details. Or join the regularly scheduled dark sky parties held by the Andromeda Society in Joshua Tree National Park. April 4, May 5, May 31, July 5, August 2 are the next star party dates. This location is more public friendly with a paved parking lot, restrooms, and a nearby campground.


Jane Houston Jones
Senior Outreach Specialist, Cassini Program
JPL - 4800 Oak Grove Drive, MS 230-205
Pasadena, CA  91109  818-393-6435
Cassini SOC
What's Up?