ILLUSTRATION BY STUART FUNK
The night sky may seem like a random scattering of lights, but a sharp eye can discern much about our position. This month provides a prime opportunity to identify the ecliptic, the plane of the Earth’s orbit. Because we are in this plane, it will form a line from our point of view. Look high in the sky, south of the Big Dipper, to find Regulus, the brightest star in Leo. The line of the ecliptic passes just south of Regulus. With the orbits of other planets nearly aligned with Earth, we can look far to the west and know that the ecliptic passes just south of the red glow of Mars.
Each month, Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory astronomer Eric McLaughlin spotlights a notable celestial event. For information about the observatory, visit ranchomiragelibrary.org.
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