Skywatch: Look for the lion and a trio of planets


As you look into the night sky this week when skies clear you may gaze upon a springtime constellation as we get closer to the changing of the season.

Leo is the famous lion that “roars” every year in late November when the Leonid meteor shower peaks. The constellation is visible right now, though. Legend has it that the Nemean lion was terrorizing a town in ancient Greece. It couldn’t be killed because its hide was strong enough to withstand an onslaught from metal, stone or wood. Enter Hercules. His first Labour (he had 12 of them) was to kill the beast, which he eventually did with his bare hands. After killing the lion he used its own claws to cut off the pelt and wore it as protection. Leo was placed in the sky to commemorate the feat.

All week long you can use the moon to help you spot three planets in the sky. Saturn, Mars and Jupiter can be found in that order from left to right in the morning sky.

As you move your eyes from left to right each successive planet will be a little up and to the right of the last. The three are in the southeastern to southern sky before daybreak. They're joined by Antares, the brightest star in the constellation Scorpio.

Above is how the sky will appear on Wednesday morning.

The moon will wane this week and eventually reach Last Quarter phase on Friday morning. The Last Quarter Moon officially arrives at 6:20 a.m.

The aforementioned trio of planets won’t be too far away on Friday morning. Happy hunting!