From near to far in the sky tonight

saturn_March 24If you want to have a theme for your observing this month, you might consider “near to far”

You could begin by observing solar system objects.  Then move on to stars, and finally end with as some pretty galaxies.

Mars will be about 0.5 Astronomical Units (A.U.) from us, so take advantage of the closeness.

Jupiter and its moons will be more than 5 A.U. away, and Saturn with Titan will be 9 A.U. distant.

A fine double star is Algieba in the constellation Leo should add color to your night. This system is only 126 light years away!

Then we could move on to a deep sky object.  Maybe M64, a galaxy at 20-million light years would satisfy.  Or maybe you’ll look for my guitar teacher’s favorite galaxy, M 104 a spiral galaxy 50-milion light years away.

If you’re in the area, drop by Cline Observatory tonight or one Friday night soon.

If you find yourself somewhere else, maybe you can locate a local astronomy club and find out of they have a star party scheduled any time soon.

Cline Observatory, located on the Jamestown campus of Guilford Technical Community College, is open to the public every clear Friday night, free of charge..

From March thru October the regular Friday night public observing sessions begin about 30 minutes after sunset. Sessions usually last about two hours.

The observatory is open to the night air so please dress appropriately.

For more information and directions please see the Observatory website at:



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