Early this evening, find a lookout with a clear view to both the eastern and western horizons so that you may be enchanted by an almost simultaneous sunset and moonrise. Watch as the Full Hunter's Moon climbs above the horizon in the east at 5:55 p.m. Turn to the opposite horizon to enjoy the sun's farewell light show, culminating at 6:08. Can you discern the moment the moon reaches full phase at 7:38 p.m.?
The Hunter's Moon is the first full moon after the Harvest Moon: they are alike in that their waxing (increasing) gibbous (larger than half) moons that precede full-phase and waning (decreasing) gibbous moons that follow full phase provide natural light after sundown during this season of hunting and gathering for winter provisions.
Close above the southwestern skyline, in the lingering twilight after sunset, meet dazzling planet Venus. Venus, also known as the Evening Star, sets at 8:06 tonight and within a minute of 8:06 through the end of the month.
To Venus' right, in the west-northwest, red-orange Arcturus of Bootes the Herdsman will set half an hour later. To the left of Venus, in the southeast, bright "autumn star" Fomalhaut is rising and will trace a shallow arc above the horizon until it sets soon after midnight for the rest of the month. Continue left, northeast, where twinkling Capella has begun to climb into the sky; it will be visible all night.
Thanks go to the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) for publishing Rise/Set/Transit Times for Major Solar System Bodies and Bright Stars. Be aware that the Naval Oceanography Portal publishes invaluable astronomy information for the general public. Although it is a resource for the military and unlikely to be defunded, to express your appreciation and support, as well as to access the site's resources, go to www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/about-us
To contact Judy Isacoff go to: www.naturesturn.org