Skylights featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day

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Skylights featured nine times on Earth Science Picture of the Day: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 -- Full List Restored!


Photo of the Week.Sunset with cloud reflection that makes the Sun appear double, with faint sunrays shining upward.

Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, September 5, 2014.

The Moon begins our week in its late waning gibbous phase, passing third quarter the night of Monday, September 15, shortly before Moonrise in North America. It then fades as a waning crescent heading towards new Moon the middle of next week, on Wednesday the 24th. The morning of Friday the 19th the crescent will make a fine sight near Jupiter, shining up and to the right of the giant planet as they rise in the east.

The two pairs of planets that have been gracing the evening and morning skies are separating. Mars, not quite keeping up with Earth as they orbit, moves toward its namesake Antares in Scorpius, while Saturn dives downward toward the early evening horizon, setting around 9:30 PM Daylight Time, less than an hour after the end of twilight. Mars follows shortly thereafter. The morning scene is more extreme as Venus falls out of sight, rising well after dawn's onset. Jupiter on the other hand rises brilliantly in full darkness around 3:30 AM in Cancer to the southeast of the Beehive cluster. By the end of October, it will be rising before local midnight (1 AM Daylight Time).

In mid-evening the Summer Triangle of Vega (in Lyra),Deneb (Cygnus), and Altair (Aquila) straddles the celestial meridian, Hercules to the west, the Great Square of Pegasus, a sign of fall, well to the east. Far to the south lies Sagittarius, its Little Milk Dipper stuck into the brightest part of the Milky Way. With the Moon pretty much out of the Way, the milky stream is at the height of its evening glory, its dark clouds signaling regions of star formation.

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