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Kunming's clear skies to reveal astronomical phenomenon

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For readers interested in matters less down-to-Earth, the recent clear skies Kunming has been experiencing have likely been a boon. This evening holds in store an extra treat for the astronomically inclined - a planet and a first magnitude star accompanying the moon across the sky.

Kunming media is reporting that the phenomenon will be easily observable after 7 pm. The moon will rise in the southeast, in between Regulus and Saturn. At around 11 pm, the moon will share the same line of longitude with Saturn, the moon descending, Saturn rising. Owing to the moon's uninterrupted movement, observers will be able to see Saturn and Regulus accompanying the moon all night.

Regulus, of the constellation Leo, is a first magnitude star and is only 77 light years away from our solar system. It is significantly visually brighter than the sun, but its distance accounts for why we see it as only a pinprick of light.

Saturn (土星 tŭxīng, or 'earth star') is a ringed planet in our solar system. Despite not emitting light of its own, its proximity to the sun ensures that it is clearly visible in the night sky.

Related story: Kunming observatory in contact with China's first lunar probe

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