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).

August 30: Neptune at Opposition

Neptune is floating through Aquarius, the water bearer. The planet lines up opposite the Sun right now, so it rises around sunset and remains in view all night. It shines brightest for the year as well, although too faint to see with the eye alone.

August 31: Neptune at Opposition II

With strong binoculars or a telescope, this is a good time to look for the planet Neptune. It is in view all night, and shines brightest for the year. It looks like a faint blue “star” in Aquarius, which is low in the east-southeast at nightfall.

September 1: Venus and Mars

Venus, the “morning star,” perches low in the east at first light tomorrow, with much-fainter Mars not far to its upper left. They will stand side by side on Friday and Saturday, with Venus slowly pulling away from Mars after that.

September 2: Zenith

Two points of the Summer Triangle crown the sky tonight. Depending on your latitude, they can pass at or quite close to the zenith, the point directly overhead. Vega is up first, in early evening, followed by Deneb a couple of hours later.

September 3: Moon and Aldebaran

Aldebaran, the bright orange eye of Taurus, the bull, stands to the left of the Moon at first light tomorrow. The two will be even closer as they rise tomorrow night, with the Moon actually covering Aldebaran as seen from some parts of the country.

September 4: More Moon and Aldebaran

From some parts of the country, the Moon will pass directly in front of the star Aldebaran tonight, blocking the bull’s “eye” from view for a while. The rest of the country will have to settle for a dazzling close encounter between the two.

September 5: Capricornus

Capricornus, the sea-goat, crawls low across the south on September evenings. It is depicted as the head and body of a goat with the tail of a fish. To modern eyes, though, it’s a wide, narrow triangle, with the longest line at the top.