Southern Cross Stargazer for Aug. 25-31, 2013

 

Sunday

In twilight brilliant Venus, Evening “Star,” glows high in the west 6 degrees from Spica in Virgo. Silver Saturn, surrounded by its sunlit icy rings, drifts away from Spica in the southwest and sets mid-evening. Corvus, Crow, lands on the southwestern horizon. Huge Scorpius crawls toward the southwest. Ruddy Antares, red heart, beats in the Scorpion’s torso. Binoculars reveal two delicate star clusters shimmering above the Scorpion's stinger tail.

The Sagittarian Teapot, center of our Milky Way Galaxy, contains myriad mysterious deep sky objects visible in the south in binoculars and telescopes. They set late evening. Capricornus, Sea Goat, wanders across the southeast. Westbound Hercules leads Vega, Lyra the Harp and the vast Summer Triangle overhead. Cygnus, Swan, soars within the Triangle. The Summer Milky Way (River of Stars), visible from a dark rural site, arches from the Teapot to the Triangle. Corona Borealis, stellar necklace, twinkles behind bright Arcturus, Herdsman, in the west. The Big Dipper swings low in the northwest. Its bowl always faces Polaris, North Star, also the tip of the Little Dipper’s handle. Late evening, the Great Square of Pegasus (Winged Horse) rises higher in the east. The Royal Family arrives in the northeast.

Monday

Dim blue Neptune rises in the east-southeast in Aquarius opposite the setting sun. Our farthest planet will be closest and brightest for a few weeks. Neptune will sail across the south all night and set in the west at dawn. The star Fomalhaut twinkles below Neptune. By 10 p.m. blue-green Uranus appears in the east in Pisces, Fish.

Wednesday

Last quarter moon occurs at 5:35 a.m.

By 6 a.m. the waning moon floats between two star clusters: Seven Sisters (Pleiades) top and V-shaped Hyades cluster (below) in Taurus, Bull. Bright Jupiter and its satellite moons glow high in the east to the right of the Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux. Dim ruddy Mars rises in the northeast directly below the Gemini Twins. Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, into the north. The Royal Family reigns in the north: Queen Cassiopeia, King Cepheus, daughter Andromeda and Perseus, Hero. Gigantic Orion, Hunter, climbs higher in the east taking aim at Taurus, Bull, overhead. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog in the southeast. Uranus follows Neptune across the southwest. The Summer Triangle sets in the northwest.

Saturday

In the predawn, the old crescent moon floats near bright Jupiter in the east. Alpha Aurigid meteors may be visible radiating from the northeast

Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375, scas.org

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