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Home / Science / The sky of this week at a glance, August 31 – September 8

The sky of this week at a glance, August 31 – September 8

Friday, August 31

Four bright planets are still waiting for you in the twilight this week, even though the brightest are getting deeper and more difficult. From right to left, they are very low in the west-southwest, Jupiter in the southwest, top left of Venus, Saturn in the south, and bright Mars in the south-southeast. Best overall view: about 40 minutes after sunset. Here is a wide angle image of the four, taken on August 17 across the skyline of Rome, courtesy of Gianluca Masi.

• Search for bright Vega that peaks when the dawn breaks when you live in the mid-northern latitudes of the world. Vega is right in the middle of your zenith when you have 39 ° north latitude (near Baltimore, Kansas City, Lake Tahoe, Sendai, Beijing, Athens, Lisbon).

Then Deneb follows two hours later. For Deneb to go right through your zenith, you need to be a little farther north at 45 degrees: near Bangor, Montreal, Minneapolis, Middle Oregon, northernmost Japan, Bucharest, Milan

  Venus and Jupiter near stars at dusk , September 1, 2018

Venus mates with Spica, magnitude 1.0, while Jupiter remains paired with Alpha Librae, magnitude 2.6. (The blue 10-degree scale is about as wide as your fist at arm's length.)

Saturday, September 1

• When dusk on this evening subsides, Venus in the West-Southwest is very low as shown here. Spica, a star of the first size but less than 1% as bright as Venus, is at the top right of just 1.3 °. Can you see Spica with the naked eye through the dusk? They are about a finger's width apart. Try a pair of binoculars.

• After dark at this time of year, Pegasus' Great Square to the east appears and balances on a corner. His stars are only 2nd and 3rd magnitude. To the left of the left corner of the square is the main line of the constellation Andromeda. It consists of three stars (including the corner) that are about as bright as the ones that make up the space.

This whole giant pattern was created by the late Sky & Telescope columnist George "Andromegasus Dipper" Lovi. Shaped like a huge little car with an extra large bowl, it lifts its contents straight up.

The actual small car has meanwhile tilted to the left in the north. It's only 40% as long as the Andromegasus Dipper, and most of it is much weaker. You will find the small cart more than 90 ° counterclockwise compared to Andromegasus.

Sunday, September 2

• Mars appears fire color in south-southeast this week after dark. High above, with three or four fists at arm's length, the white Altair sparkles.

And a finger's width above Altair is the weaker Tarazed, an orange giant that is actually lighter than Altair, but far in the background. The two are 17 and 390 light-years away.

• The Moon in the last quarter is rising tonight at 11 or 11:30 in the East, depending on your location. It is in Taurus. As dawn on Monday the 3rd begins, the moon shines high in the southeast with Aldebaran to his left and Orion below.

Monday, September 3

• How soon after sunset can you see the big summer triangle? Look southeast and look up. There's Altair, currently the bottom of the triangle. Vega, the brightest star of the Triangle, is almost at its zenith (seen from the mid-northern latitudes). Deneb is a little further up Altair.

Then look down under Altair. Saturn and Mars form a large triangle that is almost like a reflection of the above summer triangle. Altair is the top point of this lighter, temporary "Summer of the 2018 Delta".

  Mercury and Regulus at Dawn, September 5, 2018

Finds Regulus just below Mercury on the morning of the 5th, then and closer to Mercury right on the 6th.

Tuesday, September 4

• If The dawn will brighten tomorrow morning, use binoculars or a far-field telescope to illuminate Regulus 1.6 ° below the brighter Mercury. Look very low over the east-northeast horizon, as shown here.

Then they will appear even closer on Thursday morning, the 6th, with Regulus 1.2 ° to the right of the Mercury.

Wednesday, September 5

• As Dusk turns to the night, Arcturus twinkles to the west. It gets lower every week. To the right of him in the northwest the Big Dipper shovels to the right.

Thursday, September 6

• With the moonless evening sky, this is a great week to watch the Milky Way under a dark sky. When Deneb crosses its zenith (about 10 or 11 o'clock in the afternoon), then it does the Milky Way – it runs straight from the southwest horizon to the northeast horizon.

Friday, September 7

• The summer is lost Scorpius settles in the south-southwest as soon as the night comes. Its brightest star, Orange Antares, appears approximately halfway between Jupiter and Saturn. Jupiter appears to Antares on the right, in Libra, and Saturn lays well on Antares (top left), in Sagittarius.

Saturday, September 8

• The broad W pattern of Cassiopeia tilts in the northeast after dark. If you go below the lower end of the W, slightly further than the length of the segment, you will see a better point of light of the Milky Way when the sky is dark enough. Binoculars will show that this is the Perseus Double Cluster – even through a considerable amount of light pollution.


Want to become a better astronomer? Explore the way through the constellations! They are the key to finding everything that is ever weaker with binoculars or telescopes.

This is an outdoor hobby for nature. For an easy-to-use constellation guide that covers the entire evening sky, use the large monthly map in the middle of each issue of Sky & Telescope the indispensable guide to astronomy.

  Jumbo Pocket Sky Atlas cover

The Pocket Sky Atlas shows 30,796 stars up to magnitude 7,6 and hundreds of telescope galaxies, star clusters and nebulae underneath. Above is the Jumbo Edition for easier reading at night. Sample chart

If you have a telescope to use it, you need a detailed, large-scale sky chart. The basic standard is the Pocket Sky Atlas (in the original or jumbo edition), which shows stars up to a magnitude of 7.6.

Next follows the larger and deeper Sky Atlas 2000.0 drawing stars to Magnitude 8.5; almost three times as many. The next, as you know it, is the even larger Interstellarum Atlas (stars to magnitude 9.5) and Uranometria 2000.0 (stars to magnitude 9.75). And read how to use sky diagrams with a telescope.

You'll also need a good deep-sky guidebook, such as Sue French's Deep-Sky Wonders collection (which includes its own charts), Sky Atlas 2000.0 Companion by Strong and Sinnott or the larger Night Sky Observer's Guide by Kepple and Sanner .

Can a computer telescope replace cards? Not for beginners, I do not think, and not for mounts and tripods that are not mechanically high quality (so heavy and expensive). And as Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer say in their Backyard Astronomers Guide "A full appreciation of the universe can not come without the ability to find things in the sky and understand how Heaven works." This knowledge comes only by spending time under the stars with star cards in our hands. "

The Planet Roundup this week

  Mars on August 9, 2018

The dust on Mars clears and leaves behind a slightly different geography , The south is up. When Damian Peach and his colleagues took this picture on August 9th, Sinus Sabaeus and Sinus Meridiani stretched from left to right and did not look like their usual self. Will such changes be permanent? Yellow dust clouds were still present below the south polar cap, and as a tortuous line, the head of the clot filled with chasma to the right of the center.

  Jupiter on July 27 (UT), 2018

Jupiter about as it visually appears in a large amateur field during excellent viewing. S & Ts Sean Walker took this picture on the evening of July 26th. Jupiter looks strangely historical. Not only is the Great Red Spot prominent, but the normally bright equatorial zone has become unusually dark.

  Saturn on July 27 (UT), 2018

The Saturn appears in a medium-sized amateur telescope with excellent vision. North is up. Note the Cassini division in the rings, the bright equatorial zone on the globe and the darker south equatorial belt just above it, the more shady south polar region, and the dim gray C-ring within the light A and B rings. The C-ring is best visible where it stands in front of the globe. The shadow of the globe on the rings is clearly visible, right next to the upper left edge of the sphere. Sean Walker took this picture on July 26th.

Mercury (about magnitude -1.0) can be seen very low over the east-northeast horizon about 45 minutes before sunrise. Do not confuse it with the sparkling Procyon, far right above, or Sirius, either to the right or to the right of Procyon.

Binoculars will show less Mercury than 3 ° before Mercury on the morning of September 5, 6, and 7

Venus (magnitude -4.6) shines deep in the west-southwest at dusk. In a telescope, Venus is a fat crescent moon that is 40% sunlit and 30 arc seconds high. For best telescope vision, catch Venus as early as possible, preferably long before sunset, while it is still high.

Mars dwindles from -2.1 to -1.9 this week, still brighter than Sirius. It shines from southeast to southeast in the evening and is highest at around 11pm. DST. Mars in a telescope is shrinking this week from 21 to 20 arcseconds; it is still unusually large and dense.

The dust in the Martian atmosphere is getting thinner and allows better views of surface markings. For a Mars map that shows which page is pointing to Earth at your time and date, use our Mars Profiler.

Jupiter (magnitude -1.9, in Libra) glows in the southwest at twilight. It is at the top left of lower Venus; their separation is decreasing from 24 ° to 20 ° this week. Find Mars-colored Antares a similar distance to Jupiter left.

In a telescope, Jupiter shrank to 35 arcseconds.

Saturn (magnitude +0.4, above the spout of the Sagittarius teapot) glows yellow in the south at dusk. It's between the lighter Mars, to the left of it, and Mars-colored Antares, almost as far down the right Saturn.

Uranus (magnitude 5.7 at the border between Aries-Pisces) and Neptune (magnitude 7.8 at Aquarius) are to the east and southeast, respectively at 11 or midnight. Finders Maps for Uranus and Neptune


All descriptions referring to your horizon – including the words top, bottom, right, and left – are written for the middle northern latitudes of the world. Descriptions that also depend on the length (mainly lunar positions) are for North America.

Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) is Universal Time (also called UT, UTC, GMT or Z time) minus 4 hours


"Remember, to the Get up stars and not at your feet, try to understand what you see and wonder what makes the universe so curious. "
– Stephen Hawking, 1942-2018


"The dangers of not thinking clearly are now much greater than ever before, it's not that there's anything new in our way thinking gives it is this gullible and confused thinking can be far more lethal than ever before. "
– Carl Sagan, 1996


" Objective reality exists, facts are often determinable, vaccines save lives Carbon dioxide heats the globe Bacteria evolve to prevent antibiotics because evolution Science and reason are not a liberal conspiracy So we determine facts The survival of civilization depends on our ability and willingness to do so. "
– Alan MacRobert, Your Editor of Sky at A Glance


"Facts are stubborn things."
– John Adams, 1770

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