Sunday, September 6, 2015

This Week's Astronomy Hi-Lites

September 6: Milky Way
The Milky Way arches high overhead this evening. This hazy band of light
stretches roughly north-south a couple of hours after sunset, outlining the
disk of our home galaxy. You need to get away from city lights to see it.

September 7: Labors
The western evening sky offers a figure that seems just right for Labor Day:
Hercules, the strongman. In mythology, he had to labor not once, but 12
times. If you have a dark sky, look for Hercules shining faintly in the west
after sunset.

September 8: Moon and Venus
Venus shines as the dazzling "morning star" right now. Tomorrow, it poses
almost directly below the crescent Moon at first light. The fainter planet
Mars is close by as well.

September 9: Moon, Venus, and Mars
A pretty trio decorates the eastern sky at first light tomorrow. Venus, the
brilliant "morning star," stands to the upper right of the Moon. The fainter
planet Mars stands to the left or lower left of the Moon.

September 10: Arcturus
Arcturus, a bright yellow star, is in the west this evening. To make sure
you have the right star, look for the Big Dipper in the northwest. Follow
the curve of its handle away from the bowl until you reach the first bright
star, which is Arcturus.

September 11: Lacerta
Lacerta, a flying serpent, soars high overhead this evening. It is a
zigzagging line of faint stars between the prominent constellations Cygnus
and Cassiopeia. Lacerta is high in the northeast at nightfall, and high
overhead around midnight.

September 12: Zodiacal Light
If you have clear, very dark skies before dawn over the next few mornings,
look toward the eastern horizon for a ghostly pyramid of light, called
zodiacal light. It is sunlight reflecting off tiny grains of dust scattered
throughout our solar system.

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