At dusk Mercury is visible rising above the western horizon. About 8:30 p.m. a celestial triangle forms in Libra in the southwest. The moon floats beside westbound silver Saturn, above eastbound ruddy Mars. Huge Scorpius crawls toward the southwest. Antares, a red supergiant, is the heart beating in Scorpius. The stellar Teaspoon shimmers above the left handle of the Teapot.
Optical equipment will reveal dozens of beautiful star clusters, nebulas and deep sky objects across the south, twinkling from the dense center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Capricornus, the Sea Goat, wanders into the south. Dim, blue Neptune sails high across the southeast, above the star Fomalhaut, both in Aquarius. Pegasus, the Winged Horse, lifts higher in the east.
The Royal Family arrives in the northeast. Westbound Hercules leads Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the vast Summer Triangle overhead. Cygnus, Swan, soars within the Triangle. Bright Arcturus, the Herdsman, sparkles in the west. The Big Dipper swings into the northwest. Late evening, blue-green Uranus floats across the southeast in Pisces, the Fish.
Tonight the moon leads Scorpius across the south.
First Quarter Moon occurs 7:11 a.m.
In the predawn, Jupiter climbs higher in the east-northeast. Brilliant Venus, Morning Star, descends to meet Leo, the Lion, on the horizon below Jupiter. Venus and the star Regulus (Lion’s elbow) appear 0.8 degrees apart near the eastern horizon. The Gemini Twins climb higher in the northeast followed by the dim Beehive star cluster.
Gigantic Orion, the Hunter, strides higher in the east. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog in the southeast. Aries, the Ram, chases Pegasus westward. The Seven Sisters (Pleiades star cluster) lead Taurus, the Bull, overhead. Aldebaran (the Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face). Capella guides Auriga, the Charioteer, higher in the northeast. The Royal Family reigns in the north.
At 8 p.m., the Southern Cross Astros will arrange hi-tech equipment at Miami-Dade‘s Bill Sadowski Park & Nature Center on Southwest 176th Street about half a mile west of Old Cutler Road in Palmetto Bay to show a preview of the last SuperMoon of 2014. The Harvest Moon will be full next week. Bring family, friends, chairs, bug repellant, binoculars and dress appropriately. Lights, litter, alcohol and pets are not allowed
Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375, scas.org