Skywatch: Look for the "ghost of the summer sun" this week

Skywatch: Look for the "ghost of the summer sun" this week
The New Moon

A dark sky will make stargazing easier this week. The New Moon will officially arrive Sunday evening at 11:38 p.m. Enjoy the starry nights to come.

Courtesy: NASA

Uranus reaches a milestone Monday morning at about 4 a.m. That’s when the planet will reach something known as opposition. That means from our vantage point on Earth the planet will be opposite the sun in the sky.

Locating Uranus

It’ll be brighter and easier to observe as well. If you have a nice telescope look in the east to the southeastern sky through the evening near the constellation of Aries to find it.

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Ghost of the Summer Sun

Look for something known as the “ghost of the summer sun” this week as well. Arcturus is the brightest star in Bootes, the Herdsman. It has an orangish hue and rises and sets at the same time and in the same place as our sun does during the “dog days” of summer. This happens on Halloween and it’s why Arcturus is nicknamed the “ghost of the summer sun”. Use the handle of the “Big Dipper” to help you find it.

Saturn, the Moon & Jupiter Meet Up

On Friday evening Saturn, the young moon & Jupiter will line up in the southwestern sky. Saturn will be the highest of the three and the crescent moon will hang nearby just below and right of it. Closer to the horizon you’ll find Jupiter.

Look for Fireballs

If you happen to look up and see a bright meteor streaking across the sky this week don’t forget to make a wish. The North Taurid meteor shower is expected to peak sometime next week (or even early the following week – peak dates for this shower vary wildly). You’re lucky to see 5 to maybe 7 meteors an hour at the peak but both the South & North Taurids (which are active until November 20th & December 10th respectively) are rich in fireballs, or particularly bright meteors. The sky will be darker this week than next so if you’re out & about, far away from the city it doesn’t hurt to look up. Maybe you’ll get lucky & see a fireball. Happy hunting!