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).

September 27: Moon and Mercury

Mercury lurks quite low in the east about 45 minutes before sunrise. It looks like a fairly bright star, but you need a clear horizon to see it. It will stand to the lower left of the Moon tomorrow, and just a whisker above the Moon on Thursday.

September 28: The Milky Way

The next few evenings offer a great chance to see the Milky Way, the hazy band of light that outlines the disk of our home galaxy. It arcs high across the sky at nightfall, and there’s no Moon around to spoil the show.

September 29: Messier 2

Some of the oldest stars in the galaxy congregate in the globular cluster M2. It is in the southeast at nightfall and wheels high across the south later on. Through binoculars, it looks like a fuzzy patch of light in the northwestern corner of Aquarius.

September 30: Old Clusters

A pair of globular star clusters is in the southeast at nightfall. M15 is highest in the sky, to the upper right of the Great Square of Pegasus. M30 is far below it, in Capricornus. Through binoculars, each looks like a fuzzy star.

October 1: Aquarius

The faint constellation Aquarius is low in the southeast at nightfall on these early autumn nights. Its stars represent a man or boy pouring water from a vase. In Greek mythology, he was the water bearer to the gods.

October 2: Moon and Venus

The planet Venus stands in the west-southwest after sunset this evening. Although it is quite low in the sky, the brilliant “evening star” stands close to the left of the crescent Moon, so you shouldn’t have any trouble spotting it.

October 3: Moon and Companions

Venus, the “evening star,” stands close below the Moon as night falls. Zubenelgenubi, one of the brightest stars of Libra, stands closer to the upper left of Venus. Its name means “the southern claw,” and refers to the star’s history as one of the claws of Scorpius.