The waxing gibbous Moon stands 4 ° to Saturn’s upper left this night. Although intense moonlight hinders observations of the ringed world, wait a day or 2 for it to move away and return Saturn to its splendor. The world lies almost due south and at its greatest elevation as darkness falls thisweek It shines at magnitude 0.4, more than a complete magnitude brighter than any of the background stars in its host constellation,Sagittarius If you own a telescope, there’s no much better target thanSaturn Even the tiniest instrument programs Saturn’s 17″-diameter disk surrounded by a dramatic ring system that spans 38″ and tilts 27 ° to our line of vision.
Asteroid hunters have an excellent chance to area Vesta in the area of among the Milky Way’s brightest star-forming areas thisweek The 7th-magnitude small world lives in western Sagittarius, an area presently hosting the significant worldSaturn Vesta lies a couple of degrees southwest ofSaturn But of much more interest, the asteroid lies less than 2 ° southwest on the Lagoon Nebula (M8) tonight. On Friday night, Vesta will move 1 ° due south of the Lagoon.
Although fall shows up with the equinox this coming weekend, the Summer Triangle stays popular at nightsky Look high in the west after darkness falls and your eyes will fall on the fantastic star Vega in the constellation Lyra theHarp At magnitude 0.0, Vega is the brightest member of theTriangle The second-brightest star, magnitude 0.8 Altair in Aquila the Eagle, lies some 35 ° southeast ofVega The asterism’s dimmest member, magnitude 1.3 Deneb in Cygnus the Swan, stands about 25 ° east-northeast ofVega For observers at mid-northern latitudes, Deneb travels through the zenith around 10 p.m. regional daytime time, almost 90 minutes after the last vestiges of golden have actually vanished.
The waxing gibbous Moon stands 4 ° above Mars in this night’ssky The 2 make charming buddies from golden up until they set near 2 a.m. regional daytime time.
TheMoon reaches apogee, the farthest point in its orbit around Earth, at 8: 53 p.m. EDT. It then lies 251,578 miles (404,876 kilometers) from Earth’s center.
Saturn and its rings constantly look fantastic when seen through a telescope, however this night offers an excellent chance to target the world’s moons through an 8-inch or bigger instrument. Two inner moons– 12 th-magnitude Enceladus and 13 th-magnitude Mimas– reach biggest eastern elongation within an hour of each other and appear under excellent watching conditions. (The intense glare of the rings typically masks these moons when they lie closer to the world.) The 2 stand simply beyond the rings’ edge midway in between the 10 th-magnitude satellites Dione and Tethys.
Mercury reaches exceptional combination at 10 p.m. EDT. This implies the inner world pushes the opposite side of the Sun from Earth and stays covert in our star’s glare. It will return to view at night sky, however simply hardly, in late October.