Skylights featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day

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

Venus and Jupiter

Photo of the Week.. Venus (the brighter) and Jupiter shine together the evening of September 1, 2005, only 11 hours before true conjunction, the approach to which graced evening skies for days.

Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, October 14, 2005.

Skylights celebrates its quarter-millionth visitor.

The Moon begins the week late in its waxing gibbous phase, then rolls through full the morning of Monday, October 17, when it will clip the Earth's shadow for a minimal partial eclipse that will be visible in the morning hours in central and western North America and Hawaii. Only a tiny bite will be taken out of the Moon's southern edge. Look around 6 AM Mountain Daylight Time, 5 AM PDT, 2 AM in Hawaii. The Moon will be at or near moonset in the Central Time Zone (7 AM). You'll have to look carefully to see this one. The remainder of the week sees a waning gibbous Moon. The night of Tuesday the 18th, the Moon will rise above very bright reddish Mars (which comes up over the eastern horizon in twilight around 7:30 PM Daylight Time). The following night, the Moon will be to the east of the planet, will rise to the left of it, and at the same time will be to the south of the Pleiades star cluster of Taurus.

Venus, brilliantly visible in the west in twilight, sets almost an hour after Mars rises, so it is becoming at least possible (without horizon murk and obstructions) to see them in the sky at the same time, at least figuratively, since they are actually opposite each other as they briefly bookend the celestial sphere. Venus now also goes down in a darkened sky, about half an hour after twilight ends. During the day on Sunday the 16th, the planet passes 1.6 degrees to the north of Antares in Scorpius. The evening of Saturday the 15th, the planet will be just to the west of the star, the following night just to the east, the red supergiant and the creamy-white planet making a fine color contrast. Back in the other direction, to the east, Saturn undergoes something of a transition to evening as it rises at local midnight (1 AM Daylight Time) in Cancer to the east of Castor and Pollux in Gemini.

The Orionid meteor shower, believed to be one of the two spawns of Halley's Comet (the other May's Eta Aquarids), runs for several days, peaking on the morning of Friday the 21st. In a dark sky, the shower is quite good (perhaps 20 a minute), but a rather bright Moon will hamper much of the show.

The stars of the Andromeda myth are now beautifully on stage. Look especially for the Great Square of Pegasus high to the east at nightfall, appearing more like a giant diamond. Stretching out to the northeast are the streams of bright stars that make the maiden Andromeda herself, the constellation pointing the way to her rescuer Perseus, whose star streams stem from a prominent cluster at the center. Farther to the northeast, watch for the rising of Capella in Auriga, showing us that while fall is now at hand, winter is not far behind.
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