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America is experiencing a golden age of eclipses, with a major event set to occur early next week. On Monday, March 25, the full worm moon will be eclipsed by Earth, setting the stage for a total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024. This week’s eclipse will be a slight penumbral lunar eclipse and will be visible in North and South America, Europe, East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. It is a critical moment for North America as it prepares for the upcoming total solar eclipse.

In addition to the eclipse, there are other celestial events to look forward to this week. The waning gibbous moon will pass close to bright stars as it rises later in the night, providing excellent stargazing opportunities by the weekend. On Tuesday, March 26, the moon will be near the bright star Spica, while on Saturday, March 30, it will be close to the red supergiant star Antares. These events offer a chance to observe the beauty of the night sky.

Two galaxies, Bode’s galaxy and the Cigar galaxy, located in Ursa Minor and Ursa Major, respectively, will be visible in the northern sky this week. Both galaxies are around 12 million light-years from Earth and can be observed using an 8-inch telescope. Bode’s galaxy is a large spiral galaxy, while the Cigar galaxy is known for its high rate of star formation. Observing these galaxies can provide a unique and awe-inspiring experience.

As the total solar eclipse approaches, it is important to start preparing for the event. It is essential to get into the path of totality to experience the full effect of the eclipse. Many resources are available to help plan for the eclipse, including articles providing information on where to stay and where to view the eclipse. Online planetariums like Stellarium and The Sky Live can also provide accurate location-specific information on planet-rise/planet-set, sunrise/sunset, and moonrise/moonset times.

Overall, this week offers a variety of celestial events for stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts to enjoy. From the penumbral lunar eclipse to the close proximity of the moon to bright stars and galaxies, there are many opportunities to observe the wonders of the night sky. As North America prepares for the total solar eclipse on April 8, it is essential to start planning now to ensure a memorable and unforgettable viewing experience. Wishing all stargazers clear skies and wide eyes as they enjoy the beauty of the cosmos.

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