Venus shares the jap sky with a waning crescent Moon this morning. Each are in Gemini the Twins, simply seen within the two or three hours earlier than dawn. The pair resides close to the twins’ ft — in actual fact, Venus is lower than 0.5° from magnitude 4 Nu (ν) Geminorum, a multiple-star system containing two or three stars (astronomers nonetheless aren’t positive).
Venus itself glows at magnitude –4.4. It seems 23″ broad and is 51 p.c lit, whereas our Moon is 16 p.c lit. By dawn, the Moon is a about 3.5° from Venus. The Moon will cross 4° north of the planet at 9 A.M. EDT.
Uranus is stationary at 1 P.M. EDT. If you happen to’ve been watching the planet not too long ago, you’ll have seen its movement northeastward towards the background stars. After tonight, it would about-face and observe practically the identical path southwestward. We’ll return to the ice large tomorrow morning for a better look.
Dawn: 6:12 A.M.
Sundown: 7:56 P.M.
Moonrise: 2:14 A.M.
Moonset: 5:44 P.M.
Moon Part: Waning crescent (14%)
Sunday, August 16
Uranus rises late on the fifteenth and is seen all morning on the sixteenth. An hour earlier than dawn, the planet is excessive within the southeast amid the celebrities of Aries the Ram. It is best to be capable of spot its magnitude 5.8 glow simply with binoculars or a telescope. There are not any different shiny stars close by, so search for a lone star that seems “flat” and considerably gray-green. Its disk is simply 4″ throughout. If you happen to’re having hassle discovering it, use a star chart to find the brilliant stars Hamal in Aries (magnitude 2) and Menkar in Cetus (magnitude 2.5). Uranus lies roughly halfway on a line connecting the 2.
Roughly 20° east-northeast of Uranus is the simply recognizable Pleiades star cluster, additionally listed as Messier 45. Even with out binoculars or a scope, you may benefit from the view; for those who do use optical support, decide for a bigger subject of view to embody as a lot of the cluster as doable, which covers 110′ on the sky. And simply 12.5° southeast of the Pleiades is a looser cluster, the Hyades, masking 330′. The intense star Aldebaran stands out towards their scattered glow.
Dawn: 6:13 A.M.
Sundown: 7:55 P.M.
Moonrise: 3:11 A.M.
Moonset: 6:37 P.M.
Moon Part: Waning crescent (7%)
Monday, August 17
Mercury is in superior conjunction at 11 A.M. EDT. Though it’s unattainable to see the planet within the glare of the Solar proper now, it would briefly pop into visibility within the night later this month.
Tonight, contemplate taking an astronomical historical past lesson. Begin by finding Polaris. Also referred to as the North Star, Polaris sits above our planet’s North Pole. Regardless of its significance, this star is a mere magnitude 2 — not wherever among the many brightest stars within the northern sky. It lies on the finish of the Little Dipper’s deal with, whereas the Little Dipper itself is an asterism throughout the bigger constellation of Ursa Minor the Little Bear.
When you’ve discovered Polaris, observe the curve of the Dipper’s deal with to find the 4 stars that make up its cup. The brightest of those is Kochab (Beta [β] Ursae Minoris), only a smidge fainter than Polaris. Now, think about the curve of the deal with persevering with south just a bit farther: About 10° from Kochab is Thuban, the magnitude 3.7 alpha star of Draco the Dragon. And 5,000 years in the past, Thuban was the North Star.
That’s as a result of Earth’s tilt is wobbly; as our planet spins over time, its poles hint out a circle within the sky over tens of hundreds of years. That is known as precession, and it’s the identical factor that occurs to a slow-spinning prime. Polaris is roughly 43′ from Earth’s North Pole right this moment; round 2,800 B.C., Thuban sat lower than 5′ from the pole.
Dawn: 6:14 A.M.
Sundown: 7:53 P.M.
Moonrise: 4:14 A.M.
Moonset: 7:24 P.M.
Moon Part: Waning crescent (3%)