Those who are outdoors late tonight and for the next two nights may want to take a moment to look for the moon rising in the east. The last quarter moon is in the zodiacal constellation Taurus and not far from the brilliant planet Jupiter.
The best time to see these two celestial objects is well after midnight, when both have some altitude in the east. Both can be observed through the weekend.
In the coming week on Wednesday morning well before sunrise, the crescent moon appears close to the bright planet Venus. The two appear as a handsome pair in the southeastern sky amid the light of dawn. They are in the zodiacal constellation Cancer.
With the moon appearing in the late night and early morning sky, early evenings are moonless and dark. And the Milky Way is overhead.
Made up of a band of billions of stars, the Milky Way runs from a portion of the northeast sky to the southwestern sky. Vega is that brilliant star overhead and in the small constellation Lyra. Vega appears near an interesting area of the Milky Way with plenty of texture. The galaxy has dark and bright areas. The dark areas of the Milky Way were described by ancient astronomers as coal sacks.
Not all objects in space are stars. There is plenty of dark material in the night sky that prevents a clear view of the stars. Without the coal sacks, space dust and long-lost matter, the night sky would be filled with a much brighter galaxy overhead. All the individual stars seen in the night sky belong to the Milky Way.