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.

Lucky Stars

To “thank your lucky stars,” look toward the constellation Aquarius, which is well up in the east by early evening. The names of three of its stars — Sadalmelik, Sadalsuud, and Sadachbia — are from Arabic names that mean “luck” or “lucky.”

Moon and Mars

Mars is sliding against the background of stars at about the same rate at which that background is moving from night to night. As a result, Mars will appear at almost the same point in the southwest in the evening sky for the next several weeks.

Crescent Moon

A thick crescent Moon pops into view low in the south-southwest at nightfall. As the sky grows darker, the entire lunar disk should become visible, because the dark portion of the Moon is illuminated by sunlight reflected off of Earth.


Pegasus, the winged horse, crosses high overhead this evening. Four bright stars that form a large square outline his body. If you hold your two fists side by side at arm’s length, they will fit nicely into the Great Square.

Morning Mercury

Mercury is just peeking into view in the morning sky. The planet is quite low in the east-southeast in twilight, so you need a clear horizon to spot it. Although it looks like a bright star, it is tough to find through the glow.


Halloween has ancient roots. One of its traditions dates to the Celtic new-year festival of Samhain, which was celebrated at this dark time of year. Celtic tradition held that spirits could walk the Earth, while the living could visit the underworld.


©2014 The University of Texas McDonald Observatory