Skywatch: Early risers will get a few treats this week


This week it's worth getting up a little earlier if you feel like enjoying the night sky.

On Monday morning you'll get the chance to spot the International Space Station and it'll be visible for six whole minutes! The station will enter low in the southwest and get fairly high in the sky before it exits low in the ENE sky.

It'll become visible at 7:03 A.M. and will look like a fast moving star across the sky. If you miss it Monday morning look on Wednesday morning when it'll be out for five minutes.

Wednesday morning the ISS will start low in the western sky and exit low in the northeast.

If you look in the morning sky this week it’ll be easy to spot the Venus or the “morning star” as it has been called.

While not actually a star the planet shines brightly through the morning hours and is the last to disappear into the sun’s glare in the morning (and the first to emerge from it when found in the evening sky).

On Thursday morning look for Venus and Mars. If you look low in the sky before sunrise Venus will be in the eastern sky.

Near it, you’ll find Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo. Just above the two and to the right will be Mars which will shine with a reddish hue.

Look for a big and bright moon on Friday night because early Saturday morning the moon will turn full at 1:23 A.M.

This month’s full moon is known as the Full Beaver Moon. The name comes the fact that this was the time of year hunters would set out beaver traps in order to have pelts for the winter.

They would do so because the swamps had not frozen yet which meant trapping the animal would be easier. It’s also known as the full Frost Moon.

Late Saturday night into Sunday morning meteor lovers could get a special treat. That’s the night/morning the South Taurid meteor shower is expected to peak.

While this is typically a less active shower (five to 10 meteors per hour, if you’re lucky) it is known for it’s “fireballs” or bright meteors that streak across the sky.

The radiant from this shower is near the constellation of Taurus, or the bull. Sadly the nearly full moon will make viewing tough. But if you’re in a dark enough spot and you happen to be out late on Saturday look up and you might just get lucky if a fireball bright enough to escape the moon’s glare streaks across the sky.

As always this time of year skywatchers will have to wait for the clouds to clear in order to enjoy the show. Happy hunting!