Eyes to the Sky: Waning Wolf Moon, Jupiter, Venus and company
Given that the Full Wolf Moon occurred on Wednesday the 15th at 11:52 p.m., Luna is practically just a day past full when rising at 6:36 tonight.
This weekend, planet Jupiter will climb above the east-northeast horizon a few hours ahead of the waning (decreasing in size) gibbous (larger than half) moon. When darkness falls, close to 6 p,m,, find Sirius the Dog Star, the brightest true star in the sky, in the east-southeast, below and to the right of Jupiter.
The constellation Orion the Hunter is above Sirius. Identify Orion by the constellation's three bright stars in a row, his belt, with a brighter star on either side of it.
When the moon rises, it completes a great triangle with Sirius and Jupiter. The luminous star in the center of the triangle is Procyon the Little Dog. They travel the sky in formation all night.
Is your enthusiasm for the pre-dawn and dawn sky as irrepressible as mine? Seize the moment to be first to spot Venus in the morning twilight. The planet is emerging from conjunction with the sun; Saturday's not too soon to look. A clear view to the east-southeast is of the essence. Venus is about to begin its reign as the Morning Star. Our neighbor planet rises at 6:10 Saturday and 5 to 6 minutes earlier every day, quickly gaining a position higher above the horizon before being overpowered by the rising sun's radiance. Sunrise on Saturday will be at 7:18.
From midnight until morning next Thursday, the 23rd, pearl star Spica travels very close below the moon, with burnished, golden Mars above. They rise in the east-southeast and are high in the south at first light. The sight of this celestial threesome promises a delightful and remarkable experience.
To contact Judy Isacoff go to: www.naturesturn.org
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