Happy Wednesday, everyone!
Tonight for the week of May 3rd 2023 we will be gazing lovingly at the nearly full waxing gibbous Moon and our stargazing side quest target this week: the star Spica. Spica will be right next to the Moon tonight so you can’t miss it!
Spica (alpha virginis) is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo. From here on Earth it looks like only one moderately bright star, but it’s actually at least two stars. Some believe Spica may even be a quintuple system of five stars! The two stars are so close together they are closer to each other than Mercury is to the Sun. Because of this proximity the two stars are egg-shaped due to their gravitational pull on each other.
The Moon isn’t always right next to Spica, so another way to find this star is by star-hopping from the Big Dipper. First “follow the arc” to Arcturus (our side quest from week 14) then from dive down from Arcturus to the next brightest star you see, Spica.
Let us know if you get any pictures of the Moon and Spica tonight! Tag us on Instagram @stargazingsidequest and @liminal.earth so we can share and celebrate your stargazing achievement for this week!
Sky pics are from Stellarium