Winter Constellations Slip Away

The ringed-planet Saturn rises late in the evening.  On Sunday night, the planet is accompanied by the gibbous moon. Both rise in the east at about 11 p.m., and are in the zodiacal constellation Libra.

Early Tuesday morning, two days later, the last quarter moon appears low in the southeastern sky. The moon rises after midnight and is in the zodiacal constellation Scorpius, a constellation we more often associate with summer.

Spring is Coming

Crescent Moon

The moon returns to our evening skies in the coming week. Only a few Vineyarders will see it hovering close to the western horizon right after sunset on Monday night.

Planets Mercury and Mars are nearby and they look like “stars.” Mercury is the brighter of the two and right under the moon. Mars is even closer to the horizon and a significant challenge to spot. All three are in between the two zodiacal constellation Pisces and Aquarius.

More Vineyarders will see the crescent moon on Tuesday night when it is considerably higher above the horizon and above Mars and Mercury.

Planets

Late tonight, before midnight, the gibbous moon rises in the east. The moon is in the zodiacal constellation Virgo, a constellation we more often associate with spring and summer. That bright star near the moon is Spica. Spica is the main star in that constellation and it is one of the brightest in that area of the sky. Wait a little later and an even brighter celestial object appears above the horizon. It is the bright planet Saturn.

Nighttime Stories

In the earliest years of astronomy, no one had a clear understanding of the magic of the stars in the skies. Twinkling stars were untouchable, yet they glowed every night. Naming the constellations after mythological creatures probably came out of an effort to both understand and remember.

Planets

Sunrise Sunset

Fri., August 24 5:58 7:28

Sat., August 25 5:59 7:26

Sun., August 26 6:00 7:25

Mon., August 27 6:01 7:23

Tues., August 28 6:02 7:22

Wed., August 29 6:03 7:20

Thurs., August 30 6:05 7:18

Fri., August 31 6:06 7:17

Planets

Planets

Welcome to the skies of September. Our nights begin with two viewable planets. Night ends with two planets to view. Mars and Saturn are low in the southwestern sky after sunset, with Saturn being closer to the horizon. Mars, the red planet, has moved away from Saturn and appears slightly higher and more southerly in the sky. Saturn resides in the zodiacal constellation Virgo. In just the last several weeks, Mars has moved from Virgo into the zodiacal constellation Libra.

Evening Planets

A thin crescent moon will appear low in the southwestern sky on Monday night. The moon is three days old; only those with an unobstructed view of the southwest will see it soon after sunset.

Perseid Meteor Shower

Tomorrow is an important time in the summer for those who love to look up at night. The Perseid meteor shower takes place, with the best viewing after midnight. It is possible to see a lesser number of meteors from that shower throughout the weekend, including tonight.

Gibbous Moon

The gibbous moon will rule the night sky through the weekend and into next week. The full moon is Wednesday, August 1.

Gibbous Moon

A gibbous moon dominates the evening sky this weekend and well into the coming week. The moon rises tonight soon after sunset. The moon is two days past full moon, and still a bright night-time object.

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