First quarter moon occurs 12:57 a.m.
By nightfall brilliant Venus shines atop the pointed lid of the tilted Sagittarian Teapot in the southwest. Huge Scorpius slinks along the west-southwestern horizon. Bright Antares, a red supergiant, sparkles in the Scorpion's torso. Capricornus, Sea Goat, plods across the southwest.
Fomalhaut twinkles in the southwest below dim, blue Neptune in Aquarius. Blue-green Uranus drifts across the south in Pisces, Fish. Grus, Crane, stretches its starry neck toward the southwest. Phoenix rises briefly onto the southern horizon. Cetus, Whale, swims across the southeast. Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus (Winged Horse) overhead. Hercules leads Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the Summer Triangle lower in the northwest. Cygnus, Swan, becomes the Northern Cross within the Triangle. The Royal Family reigns in the north. Bright Capella rises in the northeast. The Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) lead Taurus, Bull higher in the east. Ruddy Aldebaran (Bull's red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull's face).
Late evening gigantic Orion, Hunter, reclines in the east. Procyon, Little Dog, trots behind Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion's Big Dog low in the southeast. About 10:30 p.m. bright Jupiter rises in the east to lower right of the Gemini Twins. The Beehive cluster shimmers to the left of Jupiter. Constellations rise and set one hour earlier in EST.
Tonight the bright moon floats 3 degrees above Uranus.
Before 6 a.m. Corvus, Crow, flies above the southeastern horizon. Spica, in Virgo, leads a celestial lineup in the southeast: below Spica, brighter Mercury glistens above silver Saturn. The two planets pass one another at the end of the month. Aim binoculars/telescopes/cameras to Comet Ison cruising downward 1 degree from Spica in the southeast, before dawn, this weekend. Leo, Lion, crawls toward the Zenith. Ruddy Mars lies right of the Lion's tail. The Big Dipper clears the northeastern horizon. Its bowl faces Polaris, North Star. Arcturus, Herdsman, sparkles low in the northeast. Jupiter glows west of Zenith near the Gemini Twins. Bright moonlight will interfere with the annual Leonid Meteor Shower between midnight and dawn this weekend.
FIU celebrates the grand opening of the observatory Tuesday through Friday at the Maidique Campus.
• Tuesday: At 3:30 p.m., Nobel Laureate Dr. John Mather, senior scientist for the new James Webb Space Telescope, will lecture in Building AHC-3 Room 110.
• Wednesday: Tours, programs and music.
• Thursday: Music Day with recording artists and faculty concerts.
• Friday: NASA Day. A lecture on the future of NASA robotic and human space exploration at 8 p.m. at CP-145 lecture hall, hosted by SCAS and FIU Astros.
Weather permitting, solar and celestial viewing are scheduled daily. 305-348-3670/305-348-3964.
Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375, scas.org