The Big Dipper

The Big Dipper floats high in the northeast in the early spring evenings.


| April/May 2004


Late March: 10 p.m. (Daylight Saving Time)

The Big Dipper floats high in the northeast these early spring evenings. Bright Jupiter shines high in the south, while brilliant Venus and faint little Mars are lower in the west. These are just a few of the celestial sights you can find on any clear evening in the last half of March and all of April using this sky map. Here's how:

Check the times and dates at the top of the page. Take the map out under the night sky within an hour or so of the right time, and bring along a flashlight to read it by. It helps to rubber-band a piece of red paper over the front of the flashlight; the dim red light won't spoil your night vision.

Outside, you need to know which direction you're facing. (Just note where the Sun sets; that's west.) Hold the map out in front of you, and look at the yellow labels around the edge. Turn the map around so the yellow label for the direction you're facing is right side up.

The curved edge is the horizon. The stars above it on the map match the stars in front of you. The farther up from the map's edge they appear, the higher they'll be in the sky.

The center of the map is the zenith (straight overhead). So a star halfway from the edge of the map to the center will appear halfway from straight ahead to straight up. Ignore all the parts of the map above horizons you're not facing.





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