StarWatch 890 for the week of September 8, 2013
I got involved with astronomy through aesthetics, although at the time I had no idea what that meant. As a kid, the night sky was a very scary place, but the beauty and mystery of those stars flung against the heavenly vault compelled me to look up.
On one blustery autumn evening, while walking to a cub pack meeting, I did just that and witnessed a bright meteor scorch the blackness. That meteor got me to reading, particularly our home encyclopedia, The Book of Knowledge, which provided me with answers; and here I am, some 55 years later still intrigued with the mystery and wonder of it all.
I have always called astronomy, “the beautiful science,” and I invite you to partake in that beauty by viewing the heavens about 45 minutes after sundown on Sunday when the second and third brightest sky objects, the moon and Venus, will be in close conjunction, under two degrees apart from each other.
On Sunday Venus will be found about one binocular field above the horizon, 45 minutes after sunset, and easily seen to the unaided eye.
On Monday evening, Luna will be next to dazzling Venus. As dusk deepens, you’ll notice even the unlit portion of the moon glowing from the reflected light of a nearly full Earth as seen from the moon. That’s called earthshine, and it will appear spectacular through binoculars. You’ll also notice Saturn above and to the left of Venus.
A thicker, brighter crescent moon will be situated about five degrees to Saturn’s right on Monday.