Stargazing Information

The stars of autumn begin to push those of summer out of the way as the nights grow longer and cooler. Pegasus is in view in the east as night falls, with several related constellations following the flying horse into the sky over the next few hours. Venus and Mars team up as the month begins, with Jupiter climbing toward them by month’s end. And an event sure to grab your attention highlights September’s wane: the Bloody Super Moon.

This Week's Stargazing Tips

September 4: More Moon and Aldebaran

From some parts of the country, the Moon will pass directly in front of the star Aldebaran tonight, blocking the bull’s “eye” from view for a while. The rest of the country will have to settle for a dazzling close encounter between the two.

September 5: Capricornus

Capricornus, the sea-goat, crawls low across the south on September evenings. It is depicted as the head and body of a goat with the tail of a fish. To modern eyes, though, it’s a wide, narrow triangle, with the longest line at the top.

September 6: Milky Way

The Milky Way arches high overhead this evening. This hazy band of light stretches roughly north-south a couple of hours after sunset, outlining the disk of our home galaxy. You need to get away from city lights to see it.

September 7: Labors

The western evening sky offers a figure that seems just right for Labor Day: Hercules, the strongman. In mythology, he had to labor not once, but 12 times. If you have a dark sky, look for Hercules shining faintly in the west after sunset.

September 8: Moon and Venus

Venus shines as the dazzling “morning star” right now. Tomorrow, it poses almost directly below the crescent Moon at first light. The fainter planet Mars is close by as well.

September 9: Moon, Venus, and Mars

A pretty trio decorates the eastern sky at first light tomorrow. Venus, the brilliant “morning star,” stands to the upper right of the Moon. The fainter planet Mars stands to the left or lower left of the Moon.

September 10: Arcturus

Arcturus, a bright yellow star, is in the west this evening. To make sure you have the right star, look for the Big Dipper in the northwest. Follow the curve of its handle away from the bowl until you reach the first bright star, which is Arcturus.

Check last week's tips if you missed a day.


©2015 The University of Texas McDonald Observatory