Interesting Night Ahead

By Jack Martin on Apr 18, 2018 at 02:56 PM

Good Wednesday morning,

We have lots to talk about tonight and into Thursday morning.

First of all, did you see the Moon and Venus glowing next to each other last night? It was a pretty cool sight to see. You have one more chance to view it tonight, right after sunset; look for the moon to the west.

You will see both glowing next to each other in the sky. Cool sight for kids and grownups.


Also overnight, we have a strong low pressure system arriving. This is a late season cold front that looks to bring the central coast and Santa Ynez valley rain. Rain will also likely make it into Santa Barbara on early Thursday morning.  Don’t get too excited, because we will not see a lot from this.

Here is what it looks like from the sky.

Today, look for nice weather with some high clouds rolling through ahead of the low.

Tonight and overnight, the rain moves in. Central coast and Santa Ynez, they might see 1/4 of an inch. As this system rounds point conception it will weaken, but still should hold together to make SB wet. Like maybe 1/10th of an inch.

  Thursday will be colder and showery as the cold air behind rolls though. There might even be a little thunder storm. This was seen off of the coast yesterday to the north.

Thursday night, a little wind of course.

Friday we change back to warming up.

Saturday and Sunday will be great, with inland temps in the 80s and some 90s. Coastal in the 70s.

Remember to look to the west tonight right after sunset...

Tonight | EarthSky


For the next few evenings, – April 17 to 19, 2018 – look for some gorgeous pairings of the moon and brightest planet Venus. You’ll find them in the west shortly after the sun goes down.

The moon and Venus rank as the second- and third-brightest celestial objects, respectively, after the sun. You’ll want an unobstructed western horizon to see them, and you’ll want to be outside close to the time of sunset, because Venus will soon follow the sun below the western horizon. As for the moon, it’ll be very near Venus on April 17, moving up and away from Venus on April 18 and 19.

On April 18, notice that the waxing crescent moon is closer to Aldebaran, the brightest star in the constellation Taurus the Bull. From just the right spot on Earth, you can actually watch the moon occult (cover over) Aldebaran. On the night of April 18-19, 2018, Aldebaran will disappear behind the moon’s dark side and then reappear on its illuminated side.

Worldwide map of the occultation of Aldebaran via IOTA. You have to be far north in North America to see the moon occult Aldebaran in a dark sky. Click here for more information.

As you watch the waxing crescent moon, Venus and Aldebaran over the next several days, pay special attention to the lunar terminator, the line between light and dark on the moon’s face. On a waxing moon, this is the line of sunrise. With any sort of optical aid – binoculars or a small telescope – the terminator provides the best three-dimensional views of the lunar landscape, highlighting craters and mountains. You’ll also see features on the moon best if you observe in twilight, rather than later at night, when the contrast between the moon and the darkness of night creates glare.

While you’re perusing the moon with the eye alone or an optical aid, note the darkened portion of the crescent moon. It might be softly aglow in earthshine, which is twice-reflected sunlight. That is, it’s sunlight that bounces from Earth to the moon – and then from the moon back to Earth. When the moon is a slender crescent in Earth’s sky, then the Earth exhibits a large waning gibbous phase in the lunar sky. A nearly full Earth will illuminate the the moon’s dark side in our sky for the next several nights.

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