Stargazer Saturday is our weekly series showing what to look for in the sky.
Tonight is a new moon, which is the perfect time to see the richest field of stars away from city lights. The Milky Way will be stretching straight across the sky from NE to SW after sunset. Looking towards the SW will be closer to the core of our galaxy where it appears brightest. But, you’ll need a very dark sky to see the milky way – probably at least 60 miles from any city. You’ll always want to give your eyes time to adjust – that means no white light or smartphone screens for at least 20 minutes before you start to really see the most detail in the sky.
Also look to the south-west to see Venus, the brightest planet, along with Saturn and Antares. If you look back at last week’s article, you’ll see how much Venus has moved in the past week. Both Venus and Mars are in retrograde, meaning they are moving a little more east every night relative to the stars, and will continue doing so into next year, as Venus chases ever closer to Mars in the sky.
Looking south, you’ll see Mars in the constellation Sagittarius. Pluto is hiding out near Mars, but you’ll need a good telescope to have a chance to see it as a dim 14th magnitude!
Finally, turn North to find the the little dipper, and down near the horizon, the big dipper. The little dipper can be hard to make out, so use the two bright stars at the end of the big dipper’s ladle to trace a line to Polaris, the north star, and the far end of the little dipper’s handle.
ASTROBOX NEW CUSTOMER SPECIAL
To celebrate our Moon, we have a special promotion going for new AstroBox subscribers! Sign up with this link, or enter coupon code MOON17 in the month of October, and we will send you a special 12″ inflatable LED moon printed from NASA images!
The next AstroBox won’t ship until the first week of December, but for US orders, we will ship your Moon within a few days of your order! (Due to high shipping costs, International customers will receive their moon along with the December AstroBox.)
Also check out a sneak peak at one of the Products in the New Horizons AstroBox: It’s Pluto!