Weekly Stargazing Tips

Unless otherwise specified, viewing times are local time regardless of time zone, and are good for the entire Lower 48 states (and, generally, for Alaska and Hawaii). Check out last week's tips if you missed a night.


Grus, the crane, strides low across the southern sky this evening. From the southern half of the country, look for it along the southern horizon in early evening, with its neck extending well up into the sky. The constellation is below Fomalhaut, the brightest star in that area.


The southern constellation Phoenix, which is named for the mythological bird that was reborn from its own ashes, just peeks above the southern horizon this evening for skywatchers across most of the United States.

Moon and Uranus

A giant but faint planet Uranus leads the gibbous Moon across the sky tonight. Through binoculars, it looks like a tiny star close to the right or lower right of the Moon at nightfall, with the gap growing wider as the night progresses.

Disappearing Triangle

Even though winter is almost here, the Summer Triangle remains in good view. It is well up in the west at nightfall. Its brightest point is the star Vega, about a third of the way up the sky. Deneb is above it, with Altair far to the left of Vega.


The constellation Auriga, the charioteer, is low in the northeast at nightfall and passes directly overhead around midnight. Its brightest star is yellow-orange Capella, one of the brightest stars in the night sky.

Climbing Higher

Orion is climbing higher into the evening sky. Look eastward in late evening for a line of three stars extending straight up from the horizon, flanked by two brighter stars: orange Betelgeuse to the left, and blue-white Rigel to the right.

Moon and Aldebaran

The full Moon stages a close conjunction with the bright star Aldebaran tonight. At their closest, they will be separated by less than the width of your finger held at arm’s length.


©2014 The University of Texas McDonald Observatory