Bright Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the immense Summer Triangle, drift across the northwest. Cygnus, the Swan, soars within the Triangle and becomes the Northern Cross. Dim Mars lies between the stellar Teaspoon and the handle of the tilted Sagittarian Teapot in the southwest. They set early.
Capricornus, the Sea Goat, plods across the southwest. Dim blue Neptune sails into the southwest in Aquarius. Fomalhaut twinkles below Neptune. Blue-green Uranus floats toward the south in Pisces, the Fish. Cetus, the Whale, swims across the southeast. Grus, the Crane, stretches its starry neck above the southwestern horizon. Phoenix spreads its wings along the southern horizon. Aries, the Ram, chases Pegasus, Winged Horse, onto the Zenith.
By 8 p.m. the delicate Seven Sisters, (Pleiades star cluster) lead Taurus, the Bull, higher in the east. Ruddy Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face). Stunning views in binoculars! Capella guides Auriga, ancient Charioteer, toward the north. The Royal Family reigns in the north: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, their daughter Andromeda and Perseus, Hero. About 10:30 p.m. gigantic Orion, Hunter awakens in the east. The Gemini Twins appear in the northeast before midnight.
By 5:45 a.m. bright Jupiter, surrounded by its four closest moons, leads Leo, the Lion, toward the Zenith. The Big Dipper clears the northeastern horizon. Its bowl always faces Polaris, North Star. The Royal Family drifts lower in the northwest. Capella guides the Charioteer toward the northwest. Aries, the Ram, chases Pegasus lower in the west. The dim Beehive star cluster follows the Gemini Twins overhead. Orion, the Hunter, strides into the southwest in pursuit of the Bull. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog trotting on its hind legs across the south, trailed by the Pups in the southeast. Canopus radiates rainbow colors from the ancient ship Argo in the south. Corvus, the Crow, flies higher in the southeast. Spica rises in the southeast in Virgo. Mercury descends lower in the east.
In the predawn the Northern Taurid Meteors, a minor shower associated with dust tails from Comet Encke, may produce 12 meteors per hour radiating from the westbound Bull.
Last quarter moon occurs at 10:16 a.m.
FIU Lecture Series will feature a free program on Ancient Astronomy, illustrated by FIU research astronomer James R. Webb, at 8 p.m. in the FIU Physics Building lecture hall CP-145, Modesto Maidique campus. Park in the garage, in faculty/visitors slots, west side of Southwest 109th Avenue at Eighth Street. The lecture hall is across the campus road, beyond the patio of the new Integral Science Building. FIU: 305-348-3964.
Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375, scas.org.