Last Week's Stargazing Tips

August 22: Moon and Planets

The three brightest objects in the night sky congregate within a few degrees of each other at dawn tomorrow. The planet Jupiter is close to the upper left of the crescent Moon, with brighter Venus a little farther to the lower left.

August 21: Mars and Saturn

Mars and Saturn are staging a nice encounter in the evening sky. Mars looks like a bright yellow-orange star. Slightly brighter Saturn is close to the upper left of Mars tonight. Mars will swing beneath Saturn over the next few nights.

August 20: Coat Hanger

The Summer Triangle stands high overhead this evening, with the Coat Hanger Cluster near its center. Binoculars reveal six stars in a line, which form the hanger’s cross bar, while four others curl away from the bar to form the hook.

August 19: Northern Crown

The Northern Crown is a semicircle of stars next to Bootes, the herdsman. Look west around 10 p.m. for yellow-orange Arcturus, the brightest star in Bootes. The Northern Crown stands above Arcturus, outlined by seven moderately bright stars.

August 18: Jupiter Ascending

The giant planet Jupiter is just beginning a year-long arc across the night sky. The brilliant planet is low in the east at first light, a little above even brighter Venus.

August 17: More Venus and Jupiter

Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest objects in the night sky other than the Moon, will stand side by side quite low in the eastern sky at dawn tomorrow. Venus is the brighter of the two.

August 16: Planet Pairings

The planets Mars and Saturn are low in the southwest as night falls. Mars shines yellow-orange, with pale golden Saturn to its upper left. Mars and Saturn are almost equally bright right now, with the difference between them just a few percent.

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