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 23: Moon and Aldebaran

Look for the face of the bull at dawn tomorrow, to the right of the Moon. The bright star close to the Moon is Aldebaran, the bull’s eye. It moves through the galaxy alone. The other stars in the V-shaped face are members of the Hyades star cluster.

August 24: Scorpion and Archer

Scorpius and Sagittarius are in the south at nightfall. Look for the curving body of the scorpion just above the horizon, with orange Antares in its middle. Sagittarius is to the left of the scorpion, with its brightest stars forming a teapot.

August 25: Neptune

Neptune, the Sun’s most remote major planet, is nearing its best showing of the year. It climbs into view in early evening, at the western edge of Aquarius. It’s so faint, though, that you need a telescope to see it.

August 26: Solar Twin

18 Scorpii, a star that is a near twin to the Sun, stands high in the southwest at nightfall, far above Antares, the heart of the scorpion. 18 Scorpii is a few degrees hotter than the Sun and a little bit brighter and more massive.

August 27: Moon in the Beehive

The Moon will pass through a “beehive” early tomorrow. It will cross in front of M44, the Beehive star cluster, in Cancer, the crab. They will be low in the eastern sky at first light. Binoculars will reveal several of the cluster’s stars.

August 28: Big Dipper

The Big Dipper hangs in the northwest this evening, with its handle up high and its bowl below it, as though it were ready to take a dip from a celestial stream.

August 29: Stellar Nurseries

A huge stellar nursery climbs high across the sky at this time of year. It’s near Deneb, the bright star that marks the tail of Cygnus, the swan. It includes two bright gas clouds, the North America Nebula and Pelican Nebula, separated by a dark cloud.