Weekly Stargazing Tips

Provided by StarDate.org. Unless otherwise specified, viewing times are local time regardless of time zone, and are good for the entire Lower 48 states (and, generally, for Alaska and Hawaii).

October 17: Moon and Aldebaran

Aldebaran, the eye of the bull, stands quite near the Moon tonight. The bright orange star will be close to the right of the Moon as they climb into good view, around 10 p.m., and a little farther below the Moon at dawn tomorrow.

October 18: Deneb Algedi

Capricornus, the sea goat, is in the south at nightfall. Its brightest stars form a wide triangle, with the star Deneb Algedi at the left point. Its name means “tail of the kid,” which references its position at the tail of the sea goat.

October 19: Orionid Meteors

Earth is running into a celestial sandstorm — a cloud of dust from Halley’s Comet. That produces the Orionid meteor shower. Unfortunately, though, the Moon is in the way, so only the brightest of the “shooting stars” will shine through.

October 20: Lingering Summer

A pair of astronomical markers of the summer season is still in view. As twilight begins to fade, look toward the southwest for the sinuous outline of Scorpius, the scorpion, with teapot-shaped Sagittarius to its upper left.

October 21: Last-Quarter Moon

The Moon is at last-quarter today. It lines up at a right angle to the line between Earth and the Sun, so sunlight illuminates half of the hemisphere that faces our way. The Moon is now three-fourths of the way through its month-long cycle of phases.

October 22: Moon and Regulus

Look for the Moon high in the sky at first light tomorrow. The bright star Regulus, which represents the heart of Leo, the lion, will stand below it.

October 23: AU Microscopii

The faint constellation Microscopium is low in the south at nightfall. One of its members, AU Microscopium, is a newborn red-dwarf star. The faint light is encircled by a disk of dust that could provide the raw materials for making planets.