Skywatch: A "flickering" star will be visible this week

Courtesy: NASA
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The week will start off with a planetary alignment. Mercury will reach what’s known as “superior conjunction” on Sunday at 5:00 P.M.

That is when Earth, the sun and Mercury will line up in that order. In essence, the closest planet to the sun will be on the opposite side of it as observed from our home planet.

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If you’re out on Sunday evening look up and you may catch the leftovers from the Draconid meteor shower if the clouds don't obstruct your view.

The shower is most active on October 7th and 8th. Debris from the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner is responsible for this show.

One thing that sets this meteor shower apart is the fact that it’s most active in the evening when the radiant nearly overhead.

This isn’t a major shower but if you’re out in a dark place far away from the city, and other light pollution, look up and you might catch a meteor streaking across the sky.

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The moon will steadily darken through the coming week waning to a Last Quarter Moon on Thursday morning at 8:25 A.M. Look for the half-moon the night before on the 11th.

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If you look in the west around nightfall you may see a star that appears to be “flashing colors”.

Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation Bootes. The red giant is considerably larger than our sun and is about 37 light years away from us.

The reason it appears to “flicker” this time of year is because it’s lower in the sky and therefore passing through more of the Earth’s atmosphere, which refracts or breaks up the star’s light into its component colors.

Use the handle of the “Big Dipper” to help you locate it. Happy hunting!