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.

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.

Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time ends tonight. Most of the country will “fall back” by one hour, regaining the hour of sleep lost back in March. The United States has used Daylight Saving Time off and on since World War I.

Ready for Landing

Some of the stars in one of the Milky Way galaxy’s spiral arms pass high overhead this evening. It is known as the Perseus Arm because it snakes through Perseus and Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia looks like an M or W, with Perseus below it.

Mercury and Spica

The planet Mercury and the star Spica sweep past each other in the dawn sky the next few mornings. They are low in the east about 45 minutes before sunrise. Mercury is the brighter of the two, with Spica close to its lower right tomorrow morning.

More Mercury and Spica

Spica, the brightest star of the constellation Virgo, stands close to the right of the bright planet Mercury at dawn tomorrow. They are low in the east as twilight begins to paint the sky.


One of the giants of the Milky Way stands high overhead at nightfall. Deneb marks the tail of Cygnus, the swan. It’s about 15 times as massive as the Sun, more than 100 times the Sun’s diameter, and more than 50,000 times its brightness.


©2014 The University of Texas McDonald Observatory