Skywatch: Look for planets and the bull in the sky


With a dark moon this week stargazing will be that much easier when clouds don’t interrupt the show that is.

That means you’ll have a good shot at seeing some leftovers from the famous Leonid meteor shower.

Even though the shower peaked over the weekend the shower is active until the end of the month.

Darker areas, far away from the city, could continue to see meteors at times throughout the week.

Saturn, Mercury and the moon will form a nice trio on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights.

The young moon and the two planets will hang low in the southwestern sky shortly after sunset.

On Monday night the moon and Saturn will sit next to each other. Just below it will be the innermost planet in the solar system.

Get somewhere that has a clear view of the horizon because Mercury will be the lowest of the three setting shortly after 6 p.m. each night.

One constellation you may have noticed in recent weeks (and one I mentioned in a Skywatch a few weeks back) is Taurus, the bull. This is a famous fall constellation.

Legend has it that the king of the gods, Zeus was so enthralled by the beauty of princess Europa that he transformed into a white bull and met her by the sea.

She climbed onto his back and Zeus ran into the sea taking her to Crete where he told her who he really was. The two had three sons who would go on to become judges of the Underworld when they died.

The constellation Taurus is representative of the love between Zeus and Europa, a woman who would eventually have a continent named after her. Look for Taurus in the eastern sky after 8 p.m. in the evenings.

The brightest star in the constellation is Aldebaran, the “eye of the bull”. Happy hunting!