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!

Venus and Moon

Photo of the Week.. The Moon, three days before new, visits Venus the morning of September 12, 2012.

Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, October 5, 2012.

Full phase having taken place the night of September 29, the Moon begins the week in the last stages of its waning gibbous phase as it prepares to pass third quarter the night of Sunday, October 7 (actually the morning of Monday the 8th after Moonrise for North America). It thereafter wanes as a thinning crescent. The evening of Friday the 5th, the Moon will make a pretty sight as it rises below (to the east of) bright Jupiter. Even better will be the morning of Friday the 12th, when the waning crescent will make a fine sight to the right of rising Venus. Look too the previous morning to see the Moon about equally to the right of the much fainter star Regulus in Leo, the Moon then well up and to the right of brilliant Venus.

Faded Mars, which sets just a half hour after the end of twilight, is difficult to see. With Saturn and Mercury quite out of sight in evening twilight's glow, the planetary sky quite belongs to Jupiter and Venus, the giant of the Solar System rising around 9:30 PM Daylight Time still in central Taurus to the northeast of Aldebaran and the Hyades cluster. Venus then ascends about 4 AM to the east (and a bit south) of Regulus as noted above. Back in the evening sky, Saturn and Mercury invisibly come into conjunction with each other in bright western twilight on Saturday the 6th.

By 9 PM, the Summer Triangle of Altair (to the south), Deneb (northeast), and Vega (northwest) has slipped past the meridian to be replaced by the iconic Great Square of Pegasus, which looks like a giant diamond in the early evening southeastern sky. More or less between Altair and the southern side of the Great Square you might find (in a dark sky) a pair of fainter stars on a north-south line that makes most of the ancient constellation of Equuleus, the Little Horse. With Sagittarius also moving off stage, the Zodiacal constellation of note becomes Capricornus, which at 9 PM Daylight Time straddles the southern celestial meridian looking rather like an upside-down old fashioned cocked hat. Wait awhile then to see Betelgeuse in Orion coming up about two hours after Jupiter.
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