Tonight the moon floats beside the delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades star cluster). They lead bright Jupiter overhead in Taurus, Bull. Below Jupiter ruddy Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face). The dim Beehive cluster follows the Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux, higher in the northeast. Use binoculars to view the entire star clusters.
The Royal Family reigns in the north: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, daughter Andromeda with our closest galaxy, and Perseus, Hero. Gigantic Orion, Hunter, climbs higher in the east in pursuit of the Bull. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. A nearby star, Sirius the bright blue eye, sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog trotting on its hind legs in the southeast. Blue-green Uranus drifts into the southwest in Pisces, Fish. Dim Neptune sails across the southwest in Aquarius. Mars hovers 5 degrees above the southwestern horizon in Capricornus, Sea Goat. Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus, Winged Horse, westward. By mid-evening, Leo, Lion appears in the east. The Big Dipper rises in the northeast. The Northern Cross lies low in the northwest.
By nightfall the bright moon snuggles 0.5 degree beside Jupiter.
Jupiter sets in the west before dawn. About 6 a.m. Vega twinkles in the northeast. Orange-colored Arcturus sparkles overhead, beyond the end of the Big Dipper’s handle. Huge Scorpius crawls above the southeastern horizon. Antares, several hundred times larger than our sun, is known as the red heart, in the Scorpion’s torso. Brilliant Venus descends onto the southeastern horizon. Silver Saturn in Libra follows Spica, in Virgo, across the south. The Lion crawls westward. The Gemini Twins stand on the northwestern horizon.
At dusk, the bright moon rises in the northeast below the Gemini Twins.
The frost moon is full at 11:38 p.m. Tonight the moon floats 4 degrees below the Beehive cluster.
Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375, scas.org