Skylights featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day

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Skylights featured six times on Earth Science Picture of the Day:
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6

Storm at Sea

Photo of the Week. Continuous lightning from a magnificent storm at sea illuminates both the clouds and water, while a powerful bolt connects the Earth with the sky. (Image by Bruce Kaler. The first of a set of three.)

Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, August 18, 2006.

Skylights' "Picture of the Week" for February 24 was recently featured on the Earth Science Picture of the Day .

The Moon, beginning the week as a waning crescent visible in early morning skies, passes through its new phase on Wednesday, August 23, whereupon it flips to the other side of the Sun to become a waxing crescent, but one that will be only barely visible in bright western twilight the night of Thursday the 24th. To admire the growing crescent we will have to wait until the week beginning the 25th.

The morning waning crescent, its nighttime side aglow with Earthlight , gives a better show. Look the morning of Monday the 21st to see the slimming crescent standing between Gemini's Castor and Pollux above it and still-brilliant Venus below it (the planet not rising until nearly 5 AM). The following morning, the Moon will have dropped down and to the left of Venus. Look then for Saturn down and to the right of the Moon as the ringed planet now begins to clear the Sun. At the bottom, below the crescent, will be Mercury. On the evening side, the waxing crescent passes Mars during the day of Friday the 25th.

Pay no attention to the two-year-old message making the rounds about the August hugeness and brilliance of Mars. The red planet is effectively invisible as it rounds to the other side of the Sun heading for conjunction next October 23. It's still Jupiter that dominates the evening sky. Easily visible in the southwest after sundown, the giant planet does not set until 11 PM Daylight Time.

Look just to the left of Jupiter to find Alpha Librae, affectionately better known as Zubenelgenubi. Farther to the left is great Antares in Scorpius. Above the scorpion lies one of the largest of constellations, Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer, around whom is wrapped the Serpent itself, the constellation Serpens, the only one to come in two parts: Serpens Caput (the Serpens Head) to the west of Ophiuchus, Serpens Cauda (the Tail) to the east.
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