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 23: Moon and Aldebaran

Tonight, the bright star Aldebaran, which represents the eye of the bull, rises to the lower right of the Moon. By tomorrow night, though, the Moon will have moved so much that Aldebaran will rise farther to its upper right.

October 24: El Nath

El Nath, “the butting one,” is close to the upper left of the Moon as they climb into view this evening. The star marks the tip of one of the horns of Taurus, the bull. Officially, though, it is a member of the adjoining constellation Auriga the charioteer.

October 25: Saturn’s Moons

The planet Saturn is due south at nightfall and looks like a bright star, well to the right of brighter Jupiter. Some of Saturn’s larger moons are visible through small telescopes. They look like tiny stars arrayed close to the ringed planet.

October 26: Ceres

Ceres, the giant of the asteroid belt, is easy to spot right now because it’s close to a prominent star. Through binoculars, it looks like a small, faint star to the lower left of Aldebaran as they climb into good view in the east by 9:30 or 10 p.m.

October 27: Wolf 359

Wolf 359 is one of our closest stellar neighbors, at a distance of just eight light-years. Even so, you need a telescope to pick it out. It is in Leo, which is high in the eastern sky at dawn. The star is well below Regulus, the lion’s bright heart.

October 28: Last-Quarter Moon

The Moon is at its last-quarter phase at 3:05 p.m. CDT, so sunlight illuminates half of the lunar hemisphere that faces Earth. The illuminated portion of that hemisphere will grow smaller each day until the Moon is new.

October 29: Evening Star

As evening twilight begins to fade, look for Venus, the “evening star.” It’s the brightest object in the night sky other than the Moon. Tonight, it stands farthest from the Sun for its current evening appearance, so it doesn’t set until 8:30 or 9 p.m.