Skywatch: With a darkening sky, look for the zodiacal light

Skywatch: With a darkening sky, look for the zodiacal light

The week starts off with a gorgeous crescent moon and the ringed planet in the morning sky. On Sunday morning, just before sunrise, the two will sit low on the horizon. Saturn will be just below and right of our satellite looking like a bright star. If you have a telescope. it’s worth getting out of bed a little earlier to set it up in hopes of catching a glimpse of the famous rings.

Courtesy: European Southern Observatory

As the moon wanes, you’ll have a chance to view something known as the zodiacal light in the evenings. Caused by the grains of dust in space, the zodiacal light appears as a pillar, or pyramid of light stretching from the horizon into the evening sky. Look in the west about an hour and a half to two hours after sunset to find it. It’ll be easier to find the farther you are away from the city. The image above shows the zodiacal light with the Milky Way just above it.

If you notice a darker night sky this week, there’s a good reason for that. The New Moon will arrive on Thursday at 4:05 P.M. This will make for better stargazing conditions when the skies have a chance to clear out.

Courtesy: NASA

The New Moon will give some in the Southern Hemisphere a special show on Thursday. A partial solar eclipse will be visible in much of Antarctica and parts of southern South America. Sadly, we won't be able to see it here but some in the Southern Hemisphere will be lucky enough to see the moon take a "bite" out of the sun. Happy hunting!