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 22: Moon and Planets

The three brightest objects in the night sky congregate within a few degrees of each other at dawn tomorrow. The planet Jupiter is close to the upper left of the crescent Moon, with brighter Venus a little farther to the lower left.

August 23: Planet Bonanza

The Summer Triangle is one of the skywatching treats of the season. Its stars are among the brightest in the night sky, so they are visible even from light-polluted cities. They bound a region that has yielded more than a thousand confirmed planets orbiting stars other than the Sun.

August 24: Summer Meteors

On any clear, moonless night, head for a dark location, far from city lights. After your eyes adjust to the darkness, look up. Several times an hour, you should see a meteor blaze across the sky. The streak of light can remain visible for several seconds.

August 25: New Moon

The Moon is new today at 9:13 a.m. CDT. New Moon crosses the line between Earth and Sun, beginning a new cycle of phases. The Moon is hidden in the Sun’s glare, but will return in a day or two as a thin crescent low in the west after sunset.

August 26: Supergiants

Several supergiant stars highlight the sky tonight. Blue-white Spica is low in the west at nightfall, with orange Antares in the south. And before dawn tomorrow, orange Betelgeuse climbs into view in the east.

August 27: Neptune at Opposition

Neptune is putting in its best appearance of the year. The giant planet rises around sunset and remains in view all night. It is brightest for the year, too. It’s in the east-southeast after nightfall, in Aquarius. You need binoculars to see it.

August 28: Alpha Lacertae

The faint little constellation Lacerta, the lizard, is in the northeast this evening. Its brightest star, Alpha Lacertae, is about 100 light-years away. You need dark skies to see it.