Skywatch: Look for a galactic neighbor this week

Skywatch: Look for a galactic neighbor this week

The moon will darken this week, which means when skies clear out, there will be that many more visible stars due to less light pollution from the moon. One thing you can look for is a galactic neighbor. The Andromeda Galaxy is also known as M31, or Messier 31. It’s believed the barred spiral galaxy could have as many as five times as many stars as our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Look for it in the northwestern sky near the “Great Square of Pegasus” in the evenings.

As mentioned, the moon will be darkening this week and the new moon officially arrives at 11:04 a.m. Wednesday.

Although it’s better known as a summertime asterism, the “Summer Triangle” is in the morning sky. Use it to help you find the brightest planet we observe in our sky, Venus. Look to the east in the morning and you can see the “Summer Triangle” with Venus shining brightly below and to the right. You’ll need a clear view of the horizon to find the planet.

You can also go Young Moon hunting later in the week. Look for the thin crescent after sunset. It’ll be joined by Mars and Mercury. Mars will be higher in the sky and have a reddish hue. Mercury will shine brightly close to the horizon. Above is how you’ll find the three on Saturday night. Happy hunting!