Asteroid 15 Eunomia reached opposition and peak visibility simply 4 days in the past, and the view tonight is actually the identical. The primary-belt object traverses the sky from nightfall to daybreak and climbs midway to the zenith within the southern sky round 1 a.m. native daylight time. Eunomia shines at magnitude 8.2 and must be simple to search out by way of binoculars underneath a darkish sky and in a 4-inch telescope from the suburbs. The asteroid is at the moment shifting westward towards the backdrop of Aquarius the Water-bearer. Tonight, it lies 4.3° due west of magnitude 2.9 Beta (β) Aquarii.
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Saturday, August 17
Mercury reached best western elongation August 9, however it’s really simpler to see earlier than daybreak this weekend. The innermost planet rises almost 90 minutes earlier than the Solar and climbs 6° excessive within the east-northeast 45 minutes earlier than sunup. However the purpose it’s so easy to see is as a result of it shines so brightly. At magnitude –0.9, it seems greater than twice as brilliant because it did at best elongation. When you’ve got hassle recognizing the planet along with your bare eye, scan the realm with binoculars. When considered by way of a telescope, Mercury exhibits a disk that spans 6.2″ and seems about two-thirds lit.
The Moon reaches apogee, the farthest level in its orbit round Earth, at 6:49 a.m. EDT. It then lies 252,429 miles (406,244 kilometers) from Earth’s heart.
Sunday, August 18
For these of you up for an observing problem, attempt to spot Pluto this night. The dwarf planet glows at 14th magnitude and exhibits up as a faint pinprick of sunshine by way of 8-inch or bigger telescopes from underneath a darkish sky. The bottom line is to have a go-to telescope or have the ability to star-hop from a comparatively brilliant (although nonetheless dim) star. Tonight affords a main alternative, as Pluto slides 12′ due north of magnitude 9.4 HD 183431. And tomorrow evening, the distant world slides simply 2′ north of a magnitude 10.5 subject star.
Monday, August 19
Evenings this week are nice instances to discover the constellation Sagittarius the Archer. This star group lies due south and at peak altitude round 10 p.m. native daylight time, shortly after the final vestiges of twilight have light away. The brightest stars throughout the constellation type the form of a teapot — a particular asterism when you’ve discovered it. The central areas of the Milky Means cross by way of Sagittarius, so it’s all the time price exploring the realm by way of binoculars or a telescope.