Skywatch: Look for the "crab" this week


When the skies clear out and you go skywatching this week look for one of the twelve signs of the zodiac and see if you can spot Cancer or the crab.

This constellation is associated with the Twelve Labors of Hercules. These were a series of feats accomplished by the hero as penance for transgressions.

The queen of the gods, Hera, drove Hercules mad and in his state he killed his wife and children. He prayed and was told to serve King Eurystheus, of Mycenae, for 12 years. During this time he performed his 12 Labors.

While battling the Lernaean Hydra – Hercules’ second Labor – Hera sent a crab to distract the hero as he fought the many-headed serpent. That’s when Hercules kicked it.

In fact, he kicked it so hard that it ended up in the night sky. Look in the east in the early evenings to find this constellation.

One Wednesday night you’ll be treated to the First Quarter Moon. The half-moon officially arrives at 5:20 p.m.

Look for the “king of the solar system” in the mornings this week as well. Jupiter will be in the southern sky before sunrise shining brightly all week long.

It’ll look like a very bright star just up from the horizon. While you’re out stargazing look just down and left of Jupiter for another planet, Mars. Happy hunting!