Skylights featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day

Scout Report Selection Webivore Selection SpaceCareers Selection

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

V Aql

Photo of the Week. Most stars take on only subtle hues. Not carbon stars, which glow a deep red. Here, the semi- regular variable giant star V Aquilae vividly shines below the bright star (Lambda Aquilae) near the center. Compare with W Orionis and TT Cygni.

Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, October 20, 2006.

The week begins with the waning crescent Moon one day shy of new, rendering it quite invisible, the new phase reached the night of Saturday the 21st. We then get to see the waxing crescent low in western evening dusk the night of Tuesday the 24th. Watch as it climbs in successive nights ever higher out of twilight, heading toward first quarter early next week. If you can spot the Moon early on the night of the 24th, you might also look for Jupiter and Mercury to the right of the crescent, Jupiter the higher of the two. You'll need a flat horizon and probably binoculars. The bright star Antares will be up and to the left of the Moon, while the following night (Wednesday the 25th) look for the star to the right of the crescent.

The week (if extended by a day) has interesting and rather curious parings. The two planets that bracket the Earth, Mars and Venus, both come into conjunction with the Sun, Mars from the direction of the evening sky on Monday the 23rd, Venus (in superior conjunction, in back of the Sun) from the morning sky on Friday the 27th. Mars will then become a morning planet, Venus an evening planet, both symmetrically clearing twilight shortly after year's end. Crossing apparent paths, the two quite invisibly also come into conjunction with each other on Tuesday the 24th (though widely separated by nearly a full Astronomical Unit: the distance between Earth and Sun). The largest and smallest of the ancient planets, Jupiter and Mercury, then come into conjunction with each other in mid-week, on Wednesday the 25th. If you want to see a bright planet, all that is readily available is Saturn, which rises to the west of Regulus in Leo around 1:30 AM Daylight Time.

While admiring Saturn, you might look before dawn for the Orionid meteor shower (the meteors coming from the direction of Orion), which will be at its peak the mornings of Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd, giving us (in a dark sky) 20-25 meteors per minute. These flakings of Halley's Comet will continue in diminished numbers throughout the week and into next week as well.

'Tis the season for the constellations of the Perseus myth, led by Pegasus (with its Great Square climbing the eastern sky in early evening) and, well to the north, by Cepheus, the King and father of Andromeda. The "W" of the most famed of the set, Cassiopeia, the Queen (and mother), is then seen beautifully climbing in the northeast.
Valid HTML 4.0!