By Dave Fuller on 7/25/2014 8:26 PM
Every so often the stars, planets and Moon make some lovely alignments in the sky. Despite appearing small and close together, they are often far enough away from one another than photographs do not do them justice. However, their proximity in the sky naked eye often makes for a lovely sight.

Moon position August 1-5, 2014 From August 1 through August 5 2014, the Moon travels near the ecliptic - that imaginary line in the sky along which the Sun appears to travel. Because the planets of the solar system are mostly along the same plane, so do the Moon and planets. This week, the waxing crescent Moon will first stop near the first magnitude star Spica in Virgo on August 1, then split the space between Spica and Mars the folowing night of August 2nd. The following night it will have passed Mars and have Mars to the west and Saturn to the east. On August 4 the Moon...
By Dave Fuller on 7/23/2014 7:34 PM
There are various ways to find objects in the sky. Some are easy, such as, "Point your telescope right at Saturn / Albireo / the Moon." Others take a bit more effort. Ophiuchus is a large constellation, just above the better-known Sagittarius and Scorpius. While large, it only has 3 stars of magnitude 2, but a total of 9 at 3rd magnitude or brighter. So city observers may have some challenges, but suburban viewers can likely navigate their way around this large "doctor in the sky" with little difficulty.

There are a number of Messier objects in Ophiuchus, along with some great double stars and other clusters. But two that are right near each other are Messier 10 and Messier 12, globular clusters both. While relatively bright as globulars go, they aren't exactly right next to any 2nd or 3rd magnitude stars, so there are a few techniques required to find them. 

One is by drawing a few imaginary lines in the sky that intersect where the clusters are located. This graphic below shows how t that can be...

The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.