At dusk aim binoculars/cameras to the celestial line-up in the southwest. Brilliant Venus, Queen of the Night, dances with the crescent moon (2 degrees apart). Silver Saturn glows above them and Spica lies 4 degrees below them. Venus sets about 9:30 p.m. Show family and friends icy rings around Saturn, dark Earthshine of the young crescent moon and a gibbous phase of Venus in binoculars.
Huge Scorpius crawls into the southwest. Fiery Antares, red supergiant, is the heart beating in the Scorpion’s torso. The Sagittarian Teapot (center of our Milky Way Galaxy) closely follows Scorpius. Dozens of deep sky objects shimmer across these two summer constellations in the south, visible in binoculars. Capricornus, Sea Goat, wanders toward the south. Dim Neptune sails across the southeast in Aquarius above the star Fomalhaut.
Westbound Hercules leads Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the Summer Triangle overhead. Cygnus, Swan, soars within the Triangle. The Summer Milky Way (River of Stars) arches from the Teapot to the Triangle. Ruddy Arcturus, Herdsman sparkles in the west. The Big Dipper swings low in the northwest. Mid-evening, blue-green Uranus, in Pisces, Fish, appears in the southeast. The Great Square of Pegasus (Winged Horse) rises in the east. The Royal Family arrives in the northeast.
Bright golden Jupiter surrounded by its four closest satellite moons rises about 2 a.m. to the right of the Gemini Twins in the east. By 3:30 a.m. ruddy Mars appears low in the east directly below the Twins, Castor and Pollux, and drifts across the dim Beehive star cluster in Cancer, Crab. Great view in optical equipment!
In the predawn, westbound delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) lead Taurus, Bull, overhead. Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face). Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus across the west. Bright Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, low in the northwest. The Royal Family reigns in the north. Gigantic Orion, Hunter, climbs higher in the east. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog in the southeast. At dawn, Leo, Lion stalks the eastern horizon.
Tonight the crescent moon floats left of Saturn in the west.
First quarter moon occurs 1:08 p.m. Tonight the moon drifts above the Sagittarian Teapot in the south.
The celestial trio aligns in the west-southwest: Saturn (top), Venus (middle), and Spica descends to the horizon.
Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375, scas.org