Scorpius Grabs the Moon!

scorpius-moon-ani   Monday September 1st the nearly first quarter Moon will be rising within the clutches of Scorpius the Scorpion as the banner graphic shows.
   When looking for or recognizing the star pattern for Scorpius most look for what could be described as the English letter J, or as I tell my younger students a ‘lazy J’.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   This part of the northern hemisphere late summer skies is always a treat to observe especially if the skies are dark enough to see the Milky Way. If you can find the teapot-shaped asterism for Sagittarius then look for the pour spot on the right side. Under dark skies the Milky Way looks like steam rising from the teapot. Look just off to the right, west, from the pour spout and you are looking toward the center of our galaxy, some 27,000 light years away. Here is an infrared image of the galaxy center from NASA’s 2MASS mission.

   
   
   
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Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Scorpion Grabs the Moon

25 May - 11 pm CDT

25 May – 11 pm CDT

   This evening as the full Moon rises in the east it will be in the grasp of the Scorpion’s pincers as this graphic shows. Just below the Moon is the reddish ‘anti-Mars’, Antares, the heart of the Scorpion. I say ‘anti-Mars or more correctly anti-Ares as the name given to this reddish star was meant to distinguish it from the similarly reddish colored planet Mars. Ares is the Greek name for Mars.
   Over the next several evenings the Moon will be rising about an hour later each evening and will be further east from where it is today. Were it not for the bright reflected light coming off the Moon it would be possible to appreciate this area of the starry skies as this is where the Milky Way is very visible arcing down toward the south horizon from nearly overhead. aug25Looking toward the tail of the Scorpion is looking toward the center of our galaxy, some 20,000-30,000 light years away. It is also in this part of the sky where there are many nebula and star clusters visible to the naked-eye and binoculars. Best views of this part of the sky will come later during northern hemisphere summer months as this sneak peek at this part of the sky during August shows.

   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.