Sun rises at 5:36am

Sun sets at 6:42pm

Moon phase: first quarter moon, crescent waxing

Moon rises at 8:35am

Moon sets at 9:45pm

 

The Moon & the Tides

As the Sun sets on Saturday night, look to the western sky to see the new moon, just starting its 28-day cycle. A thin sliver of lunar landscape hovers near the foot of the constellation of Gemini, the Twins. Are those Gemini boys playing soccer with the earth’s natural satellite? Perhaps Cassiopeia should scold them!

 

The new moon is showing the earth its unlit face, with only a hint of the lighted side peeking around the edge. No matter how the moon looks to us earthlings, the sphere of rocky material that orbits us is always half lit by the sun, just as all the planets in the solar system. The changes we see in its appearance are due to how much of the lit face is aimed our way.

 

A full moon shows us the entire lit side, which is approximately two weeks from the true new moon, which is invisible to us, as its fully lit side is aimed away from earth. The dance of the earth, moon, and sun is a remarkable and rhythmic pirouette in which the three celestial bodies use gravity and momentum to swing around each other – the moon and earth do it every 28 days and together they swing around the sun every 365 days. And so go the days, months and years of our lives.

 

Because our oceans respond to the gravity of the sun and the moon, the tides are more extreme when the earth, moon and sun are in near-alignment, because their gravitational pulls add together. These are called spring tides, though it has nothing to do with the season of spring. Think of the water as springing forth! These spring tides occur when the moon is full but also when the moon is new. They are considered more extreme because the high tides are very high and the low tides are very low. Then one week later, the sun and the moon will be at right angles to each other, thus their gravitational pulls will not add together; in fact, they subtract! Physics is math, people! At that time, called neap tides, the high tides are not that high and the low tides are not that low.

 

Here in the Caribbean, we don’t notice that much of a difference in the high tides or the low tides. That is because our islands don’t really stop the movement of the ocean like a continent does. The water goes around us and keeps flowing. Long, continental coastlines, especially those running north and south receive the greatest tidal range. The greatest tides are said to be in the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia on the eastern coast of North America. This is one place where the difference between the high tides and low tides can be as much as 40 feet! You can bet the folks living there are quite aware of the moon’s phase, especially those who make their living near or on the sea.

 

Watch the moon set about the same time as the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, and about 30 minutes later, the bright star Procyon will follow them down to the western horizon. The heads of the Gemini boys will set about 10 o’clock.

 

Ten is a great time to go out to check the stars and planets, providing the clouds are not blocking the view. At that time, the bright star Arcturus will be directly overhead, a position known as the Zenith, and Jupiter and the star Spica will be very high up too, in the southwestern portion of the sky. Due south and low – just above the horizon – look for two bright stars, Hadar and Rigil-Kent, these are the pointers that show the way to the Southern Cross.

 

Thank you for keeping up with the Night Sky articles. If you are out later on in the week, each star rises about four minutes earlier each day than written here, and the moon rises 50 minutes later. Night Sky is researched and compiled by Lisa Davis-Burnett. Earthsky.org is a key resource for information and images. Questions or comments? Email lisa@thedailyherald.com

Festivities, history and adventure had kept us in the area of Antigua, Guatemala for longer than we had planned. Both Bart and I could have enjoyed ourselves there longer, but there was more of Central America to see and we only had a limited amount of time.

So we headed Southeast towards Belize; the next country on our list. But first, we had a few more highlights to check off our bucket list. The first: Semuc Champey, a famous river, which is a natural pit stop for backpackers in Guatemala. It is not an easy place to get to. We took an eight-hour shuttle-bus ride from Antigua to Coban, an unremarkable town. You can take tours to see Semuc Champey from here but most backpackers, including ourselves, make the effort to take another bumpy hour ride to Lanquin, a tiny village which is closer to the attractions of the area and nestled in a gorgeous valley between the Guatemalan highlands.

I noticed that the village must’ve only grown in the last few years due to the increasing tourism. Besides a few newly built shops, restaurants and guesthouses, there wasn’t much. When we got out of the bus a crowd formed around us; each person trying to convince us to stay at a number of different places for the night. I was happy that I had already made reservations. By recommendation of some friends I had made in Nicaragua, I had booked a room at a hostel called Zephyr Lodge. We found a young man holding up a ‘Zephyr Lodge‘ sign above his hand and followed him to a large pickup truck more fit for cattle than for travellers.

Luckily this ride was just a few minutes and eager to relax, have a drink and eat, we checked ourselves in. To our delight due to a mix-up we got a free upgrade to a very nice private room! A shower later and a cocktail in hand, we watched the sun disappear behind the mountains surrounding us.

We booked a tour with the hostel to see Semuc Champey the next morning. I was nervous because besides hiking to Semuc Champey we were going to climb and swim into a cave system nearby. I think caves are fascinating but the idea of navigating through possibly tight and dark spaces scared me.

With two-dozen other backpackers staying at our hostel we were piled into the ‘cattle-truck’, a half an hour bumpy and loud ride later we had arrived. Our guides who were young and energetic told us to leave everything but our swimming gear behind and led us to the dark cave entrance.

To light our way we didn’t receive a torch, but a long white candle that our guides lit for us one by one; telling us to follow him in a single-file line. While we entered the caves, another guide smeared our faces with mud in various designs. Painted faces, candles lit, we quietly followed one and other into the depths of a cave; it seemed like more of a cult-procession than a tour. Who was going to be sacrificed at the end? I told Bart to walk in front of me.

At times the cave and the pools of water would get deeper, forcing us to swim while holding our candle out of the water; other times steep rocks walls appeared before us and ropes and ladders were used to climb over them. Eventually, we got to the end of our route.

Sacrifices might not have been a tradition in the caves but our guide did show us a rock altar where ancient Mayans once performed sacred rituals. The Maya people believe that the cave is the "heart of heaven" where the secrets of many centuries are held. Close to this rock a large, deep pool had formed, Bart and a few other brave participants climbed up the slippery formations and dropped themselves into the pool.

I was proud that I had done the cave tour and although it was not as scary as I had thought, I was still happy when I saw sunlight. After a much-appreciated meal, our guides took the large group up a steep path made of steps, ladders and boulders; it was humid and I almost yearned for the cool waters of the cave once again. It had been a long journey of bus-rides & hikes but when we walked around our last corner and saw the mystical river-system Semuc Shampey, we understood why so may backpackers do so.

A turquoise collection of tiered pools atop a natural limestone bridge flowed amidst a wild jungle. It was a sight picked right out of storybooks with tales of nymphs and fairies. When we got our fill of the top-view we raced down the other side of the slope so we could take a closer, and wetter, look.

Once below, we swam in the water, jumped from the rocks and slid down the mini-waterfalls to get from pool to pool. Once we had explored enough we sat on the slippery rocks, letting the tiny river fish nibble at our feet while we enjoyed the sun. We ended the perfect day with pizza and games at the hostel and prepared to go on another adventure in the morning.

Back in Lago Atitlan, I sat next to a young Guatemalan DJ who gave me vague directions to what he called ‘the most magical place in Guatemala: Laguna Lachua. I had found a blog or two online giving a better summary of how to get there, but being off the tourist route, we did not fully know what to expect. We took a bus into Coban, another crowded bus to an isolated gas station, and another very uncomfortable bus ride to the secluded entrance of the park in which the lake was situated.

The only two other landmarks in sight were small wooden shack selling basic food items and a small dusty guesthouse. It was already late in the day, I had heard that it was possible to rent a room next to the lake at a campsite, but hadn’t confirmed anything as yet. To our relief, we spotted a park ranger, who, as a bonus, was very welcoming and kind.

He explained that we could rent a room for cheap price. The hike would be about an hour and we had to take our own food and firewood in. He offered to lock our large backpacks in the park office so we only had to take the bare minimum. Excited, we put some extra clothing in Bart’s smaller rucksack and crossed the dirt road and then decided we could create pasta that night with the onions, Vienna sausages, tomato paste and the tomatoes (only two) that the little shack was selling. The same shack also sold us some firewood and a few litres of drinking water.

Supplies in hand, we hiked into the park. It was quiet and peaceful; the only sounds were the rustling of trees and an occasional bird-chirp. Semuc Champey had been the prettiest river I had ever seen, and when Bart and I caught the first glimpse of Laguna Lachua; it could very well be the prettiest lake. Glassy water stretched from our feet to faraway mountains that were reflected in the clear lake.

At the campsite a kind ranger and his family greeted us. We were the only people staying at the simple lodging. We took a quick dip before the sun set, making sure to stay close to the shore, as we were told crocodiles inhabit the deeper areas of the 220-meter deep lake. That night we had fun making dinner on the firewood stove while listening to the rush of the heavy rainforest showers pouring down on the zinc kitchen roof.

The next morning, knowing it would be a while before we caught a bus in this off-the-beaten-track destination, we got up early. The rain had not stopped yet, so we got a free shower on our hike back. We repacked our backpacks, put on some dry clothes and sat on a lonely wooden bench on the side of the road waiting to get a ride to our next stop in Guatemala.

Follow Laura’s travels on Instagram: @laurasxm or read more on her blog: www.laurabijnsdorp.com/blog

Since 2007, the student councils from the major secondary schools on the island have joined together to form the United Student Government Front (USGF). This organization is unique, comprising student leaders from St. Dominic High School, St. Maarten Academy Academic and PSVE, Milton Peters College, Sundial and St. Maarten Vocational School.

At the onset, a unanimous decision was made to meet on a monthly basis. The goal of the meetings has been to share successful ideas and activities among USGF members. Participating students were then able to share the ideas with their respective schools and enhance or build their own student councils.

Since 2007, USGF has grown from strength to strength with each school contributing ideas and new platforms. The organization has moved from being a mere meeting and sharing ground, to one that offers leadership, financial and Parliamentary training, as well as opportunities to interact socially, for members and mentors of the participating schools.

In the 2007-2008 academic year, participating members of the various schools designed a “Unity” flag and walked the St. Peters school district to bring awareness of the organization. That same year, there were monthly USGF meetings, a board game competition, a Christmas party, and the first Youth Toastmaster Gavel Club was formed on the island. Many of these activities were published in the island’s daily newspapers. The games played by the members of the organization were chess, checkers and dominoes.

In 2008-09, the Youth Toastmaster Gavel Club expanded with Beginners and Advanced sections. Here, under USGF, these trainings aided the leadership and communication skills of the young scholars. There were workshops teaching Executive Board and Parliamentary Procedure Workshops. This lets the students understand the roles members of boards play. This is when CIA and LU joined and became active USGF members.

The 2009-2010 school year saw further growth of USGF. That year, the organization formulated its year plan with the approval of all high school principals and mentors. For the first time, a motto was devised to be used as part of all USGF correspondences: “To promote civic involvement, leadership, and academic excellence in a unified manner among students of secondary schools on St. Maarten since 2007.”

Early in 2010, there was a treasure hunt for the front held by WIB. They provided funds at that time to open up a dedicated website. This stayed active for two years. Throughout all this time, the games and workshops continued. Like previous years, there was a board-game competition with prizes sponsored by businesses and two social activities, all published by the media.

WEEKender met with USGF faculty sponsor Sinatra Rouse, who has been gathering recollections of students and former students from USGF to mark the 10th anniversary of the organization. Here are some fond memories of the last 10 years:

Georgia Nelson

Currently a St. Dominic student, Georgia has been on the board for three years. She says the parliamentary procedure workshop taught her how to correctly run a meeting and provided her a delightful way to make friends with fellow council members from other schools. “USGF has impacted the development of my school’s student council in major ways. Our members obtained skills that were an extension of their formal education. USGF taught our council members the right terms which are to be used during meetings, for example, Point of Order, Point of Privilege. USGF also taught us the importance of teamwork.”

Georgia finds that USGF contributes to St. Maarten by bettering the skills and the mindset of the youths. “In my opinion, students, who participated in events planned by USGF, learned organization skills and learned how to think logically. Students developed knowledge for project management, event planning, and fundraising skills. Students also learned how to work in groups, a developed skill which is beneficial for college life. Most importantly, USGF encourages leadership, which can only benefit our island positively.”

Georgia credits her participation in the USGF with making new friends and new connections, and networking. “I learned how to engage with diverse groups of people. I was also provided with practical experience which will benefit me in my area of study interest.”

Prasanjit Paul

This St. Dominic High 2016 graduate says he enjoyed the 2013 USGF Board Games competition the most. Prasanjit recalls that it was held after school hours in St. Dominic High: “That scholastic year, four schools participated in the competition – PSVE, Academy Academic, MPC and St. Dominic of course. This was the event I enjoyed the most because, overall, it was my first ever interscholastic competition as treasurer of S.G.O. [Student Government Organization] of St. Dominic. The atmosphere that day was fantastic and the people who turned up were amazing board-game players. I actually learned a lot of new concepts of the games from them that day. It was truly a day that I won’t forget. Everything went well by the end of the massive event and all the planning and organization my S.G.O. board had done at the time was practically successful. Being a part of the success as treasurer was also bonus and a wonderful feeling.”

“USGF was taking place even before I came to St. Dominic High School. Over the years, as I moved up the ranks in our own S.G.O. from class representative to treasurer and finally president, I have seen many students participate in USGF. Believe it or not, all those students have definitely benefited from this foundation. Specifically looking at the students in our S.G.O. and myself, we improved our social skills, presentation tactics and spoken word. The unity and perseverance of each individual student are always present, allowing others to follow in their footsteps.

“USGF has definitely impacted the youth of our community. They allow young students every year to express themselves and develop into wonderful human beings. Unity and integrity drive the nature of the organization itself and there’s always motivation and goals set for every student so they can focus and develop themselves by the end of the scholastic year.

“USGF has helped me become a better person. Honestly speaking, a part of me that I am proud of today is because I was part of a USGF during my earlier years in high school. I have become more attentive and focused ever since. My social skills have greatly improved and I can easily work with any group of individuals. The unity I learned from USGF has allowed this part of me to dwell and mature into the strongest attribute I pose today.”

David Chapman

David of the Academy class of 2017 recalled how much he enjoyed the chess match. “It’s a great game that stimulates the mind! USGF contributed to the development of my school council and it has given the youths something constructive to do in their free time. The USGF influence has impacted me in so many ways that I can’t even put it into words!”

Kim Lukas-Felix

This Academy student said she most enjoyed the interscholastic board-games competition each year because it gave students of various schools an opportunity to meet and interact with each other socially. She notes that through USGF, St. Maarten Academy was able to establish its Student Government Association; and over the years was also able to grow bigger and better by sharing ideas with other schools.

“USGF has made a great impact on the St. Maarten community in various ways, as many of the former members gained confidence to become leaders within the society, either at their jobs or at university. It also provided a platform for students to learn about networking and working together – attributes that can benefit all. It was through USGF that I was able to connect with mentors of various schools and create bonds that will last a lifetime. Activities such as the Parliamentary Procedure workshops helped to underscore the importance of time management.”

Sinatra Rouse

A faculty sponsor and tireless organizer, Sinatra Rouse shared that last year they gave out artefacts to the various schools to commemorate their participation in USGF. Each school was presented with a gavel, board games and a book about parliamentary procedure: “We want to thank all the companies and the society in general for assisting us over these 10 years, but special thanks to Domino’s who never hesitated to provide us with prizes and support. We also have a big debt of gratitude to Windward Islands Bank, Nagico and Bimaco.” Sinatra Rouse adds that the students and the school mentors themselves are the real stars who made it all work by their participation and willingness to do whatever it took for the betterment of the students and the schools.

Sint Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has more than 200 nurses on staff; each playing a part in saving lives on our island every day. Nursing is not a glamorous job but one that we all need at a certain point in our lives. Unfortunately, we don’t often take the time to show how grateful we are for the patience, empathy, care and hard work our nurses put into their jobs.

Natasha Gordon, Jules Carty and Corwin James are three of these dedicated nurses working at SMMC. Like every caregiver; they have unique stories to tell: some sad, some uplifting and most of them inspiring!

  • Jules Carty

Anaesthesia Technician - Operating Room

Tell us about your journey to nursing.

When I was young, I was often sick. We had a big family, so I lived with my grandmother and aunt for a while so that they could take care of me. My aunt Ramona Illidge is a nurse who worked on Sint Maarten for over 40 years. As a child, she often took me to the hospital where I saw her at work and pretended to be her assistant. Seeing her at work, I developed an early interest in taking care of people.

Later I was sent to Aruba to finish high school. Initially, I was much more interested in playing music than going to school. Nonetheless, I completed my HAVO and had planned to come back to Sint Maarten to work at the bank; but my aunt had a different plan for me! She knew that the island needed nurses and that I enjoyed taking care of people. So I was sent to Eindhoven, Holland, and I became an Anaesthesia Assistant. In retrospect, I am grateful for the choices she made for me and I am proud to say that I have been working in my field for more than 30 years on Sint Maarten!

What skills should a nurse have?

You need to love people! If you are in it for fame and fortune, forget it! You also need patience, compassion and determination to be a good caregiver.

What about your job is hardest; what is most rewarding?

The hardest and most rewarding times are when you have to stand up and make the unpopular decision to be the patient’s advocate. This may cause conflict with colleagues, but everyone understands in the end that the patient is central and it’s about giving the best care to the patient.

It is unbelievable how caring people in the medical field can be. I remember years ago in the St. Rose Hospital when a lady gave birth and did not stop bleeding. She needed blood to survive. In those days, we did not have a blood bank as we do today. Whenever patients needed blood, people from the community would offer their blood to help those in need.

However, due to the time of day and urgency in this case, the nurses working that day had no other choice but to give blood themselves, including myself. Today that patient is alive and well. The most rewarding part is seeing how grateful people are and knowing that you have contributed to your country!

How do you see your future in nursing?

I will be at this job for as long as I can, next to playing music in my band and taking care of my four kids. I do hope that those responsible for assisting and facilitating the process for expanding medical services on Sint Maarten will see the value of this and also understand that it will reduce a lot of cost. Families will not have to be subjected to travelling far and can be right here at home with their families receiving quality care.

We have talented, trained medical professionals on Sint Maarten and it will be more productive if we provide them with the tools and facilities they need. Finally, I also hope that more young Sint Maarteners become nurses, become part of advancing healthcare on the island. We need you!

  • Natasha Gordon

Registered Nurse – Hospital Information System

Tell us about your journey to nursing.

I grew up eager to help people. This naturally progressed to going into nursing. After attending Sint Maarten Academy, I went to nursing school in St. Kitts. As soon as classes got started, I knew I was in the right place. Three years later, in 2009, I had an Associate Degree in Nursing and became a Registered Nurse.

It was my goal to work at SMMC, so I could learn as much as I could in the field of nursing. I first did a six-month stint at Mullet Bay Clinic and would then start working in the medical surgery ward at SMMC to my delight. After just two years, in 2013, I was promoted to assistant supervisor in the department.

Another year later, the hospital asked me if I’d be interested in working with the Hospital Information System. They were in the process of transferring paper documentation to digital databases; which improves patient care, helps preventative care and provides useful statistics nationally and internationally. They needed someone to manage the system from a nurse’s perspective. I said yes, and today I create documentation, train others and travel. I never imagined that within my profession were so many diverse things to do!

What skills should a nurse have?

My daughter often says, “Mommy, you’re always helping people!” You need to “want” to help others; during and outside your job hours. Nursing is a calling!

What about your job is hardest; what is most rewarding?

The hardest part of course is when a patient doesn't make it. It is our goal to make everyone better, so when that does not happen, it can feel like you failed. Although you might feel down, you also need to stay strong so you can focus on other patients you have in the hospital.

Besides that, it can be difficult when patients can become grumpy, rude or aggressive when they are sick or in pain. You need to be patient and empathetic in the situation. Luckily, once they feel better, they often also apologize for their behaviour.

It is most rewarding when you know you have saved a life. I remember a gentleman who had had major surgery; he seemed fine until the night shift came around. I checked up on him and noticed he had taken a turn for the worst. He was rushed to surgery again, which saved his life.

How do you see your future in nursing?

I want to learn as much as possible in my field and continue doing my part to improve lives to the utmost of my capabilities!

  • Corwin James

Interim Assistant Supervisor - Intensive Care Unit

Tell us about your journey to nursing.

I knew I wanted to get into healthcare from as young as 12 years old. Maybe it was watching all those old medical TV-shows that inspired me. I loved the idea of being someone that could help someone feel better. Graduating at 16, I was too young to start nursing school, and for a while my life took a different path. I started working for a bank, saving money and lived in New York for a few years.

This changed – thanks to my family who always supported me in my dreams to work in healthcare. My parents found an opportunity for me on Sint Maarten; it was an in-house course for a year at SMMC to become a nursing assistant. I worked at the bank during the day, attended classes at night and worked at the hospital on weekends.

Through a partnership with a nursing school in Curaçao, I got more in-house opportunities to further my nursing education until I finally became a Registered Nurse and started working in the Intensive Care Unit! It took me more than 10 years, but I finally got to where I was supposed to be.

What skills should a nurse have?

It isn’t always glamorous; there are bodily fluids involved, but that does not matter. I’d describe myself as an introvert, but if a patient needs a motivating conversation, I will be there for them. No matter what is going on, you need to put everything aside to give the best care you can to your patient!

What about your job is hardest; what is most rewarding?

It is always hard to deal with death, but as a medical caregiver, you learn to develop a thick skin. Yet when children are involved, my skin is never thick enough. A few years ago, a colleague’s child became seriously sick and we did everything we could; yet our efforts were not enough. I am a believer; I guess God had His way; but it is still hard for me to talk about it until this day or see any other child in pain.

The reward in the job is its fulfilment. We had a patient that was critically ill and in and out of the hospital countless times, but he got better. I was part of the team that made that happen. We still see him today; neither he nor anyone from our team can pass each other without saying hello. I made a difference in his life. There is no greater feeling.

How do you see your future in nursing?

A few weeks ago, I got promoted to Interim Assistant Supervisor of the Intensive Care Unit. Our goal is to make sure the ICU runs smoothly and that patient-care is at its best. I will be working in the medical field for as long as I am able!

Sun rises at 5:37am

Sun sets at 6:40pm

Moon phase: 4th quarter moon, crescent waning

Moon rises at 2:30am

Moon sets at 2:25pm

 

As the sun sets on Saturday night, the sky’s tranquil blue is kissed with brilliant golden tones and touches of rose and vermillion. Then the brightest of stars begins to twinkle through the gathering darker shades of indigo and navy.

 

I remember as a child we used to challenge each other to see who could find the first star of the evening. Do children still do such simple rituals? Then I would lay down next to the outside wall of my house to gaze up at the stars to see them slowly moving above me. The wall served as a line of delineation, proof that the slow movement was not something I was imagining, but was a measureable thing – each star slowly marching from east to west, and I would see them pass behind the edge of the wall, knowing it wasn’t really the sky shifting but the earth rotating under those steady beacons millions of miles away.

 

I guess I was always a science geek, but to paraphrase John Lennon, “I’m not the only one.” I am glad to know our community has several of us science-y folks that enjoy reading each Saturday about the starry, starry nights that grace our skies. Happily, I have heard that many of you take the Night Sky articles out into the garden to guide your explorations of the stars, often alongside children who are keen to learn.

 

So this weekend, what can we see? Well, the fourth quarter moon will be rising very late and even then it is just a thin curve and so it will cast almost no illumination on us. That’s great for star gazing! So get the binoculars and/or telescopes out and aim for points of interest.

 

Just after sunset, Jupiter will be high in the western sky, a gorgeous bright planet with a family of little moons gathered around it. Jupiter will be in prime viewing range (that is not so high you have to crane your neck back to see it) around 1:30am when it hangs just over the western horizon. Focus in as much as you can to get those moons in view: they have the most poetic of names: Callisto, Ganymede, Io, Europa. Each one a world unto itself, each with a distinct appearance that we have awesome photos of – thanks to our unmanned space probes such as Voyager and Galileo.

 

In actuality, Jupiter has more than 65 moons! It’s almost like a sub-solar-system within the solar system. Jupiter’s four main moons, called collectively the Jovian satellites, were discovered 407 years ago by Galileo when he pointed a primitive telescope of his own making up at stars. He took meticulous notes on what he saw and his papers are still treasured in the Galileo Museum in Florence, Italy.

 

Galileo is a personal hero of mine, but for more traditional heroes, we look for perhaps the first mythic superhero: Hercules! His story is immortalized by having his own constellation, not to mention a Disney movie. To find the constellation of Hercules, look in the eastern sky just after dusk. The brilliant bluish star Vega is shining there and will guide you to the star pattern in Hercules known as “the keystone.” Once you find Vega, look above it and to the right. How far away from Vega should you look? About 15 degrees. How to know that distance? Use your “rock on” hand shape (see diagram). Hold your hand out at arm’s length with one extended finger on Vega and the other will point to the keystone.

 

Hercules is a constellation with many more stars than can be seen with the naked eye. Since the mid-1990s, scientists have identified 15 stars within the Hercules constellation that have planets orbiting around them. One of these planets resembles Saturn and another of these planets has a mass nearly the same as Earth. It’s fun to imagine what mysteries await us, lying out there to be discovered some day.

 

While you’re gazing at Vega and Hercules, look just to the south or right to find Saturn and its brilliant rings on display (via a telescope or good binoculars.) This is a sure delight for anyone to observe, and Saturn is out all night, still high in the western sky at sunrise.

 

Thank you for keeping up with the Night Sky articles. If you are out later on in the week, each star rises about four minutes earlier each day than written here, and the moon rises 50 minutes later. Night Sky is researched and compiled by Lisa Davis-Burnett. Earthsky.org is a key resource for information and images. Questions or comments? Email lisa@thedailyherald.com

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