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CURRENT SKY HIGHLIGHTS

Be VERY CAREFUL NOT TO OBSERVE SUN DIRECTLY!  INSTANT BLINDNESS CAN OCCUR!!!  Instruments can explode!!! Cease viewing before Sun actually rises 
if you're using binoculars or telescope!!!  

July 14th, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft, about 3 billion miles from Earth, imaged Pluto close up for first time ever, flying by about 7000 miles away.  Note ice field in shape of large heart, see other images at the Mission site (link on homepage of this site).

PLANET and SKY INFORMATION:  (updated August 16th, 2015)

Planet Parade:
Mercury is still in western post sunset sky but dropping toward Sun quickly.  Venus just passed inferior conjunction with Sun yesterday, will reappear in eastern predawn sky in a few weeks to chase down Mars which rises now just ahead of the Sun in eastern sky.

Jupiter will liesurely make its way from west to east side of Sun over next several months.

Saturn is the last of the naked eye visible planets left in the current evening sky, starting low in the SW above Scorpius' 3 head stars, and sliding down the ecliptic to set by late evening.

Uranus and Neptune now rise mid evening and are readily visible in binoculars or telescope if you know where to look in Pisces and Aquarius, check Sky&Telescope site for finder chart.

The Big Dipper is now low to the northwest in early evening, arc of handle points to bright yellow star, Arcturus, higher in the western evening sky, don't confuse Arcturus with yellowish Saturn which is lower to the SW.

The Summer Triangle dominates the sky overhead, featuring bright stars Vega, Deneb, and Altair.  The red supergiant, Antares, heart of the Scorpion, is low to the south just after darkness.

Note the different colors of stars, why do they appear different?  (Think of electric stove burner element...yes, their temperature...reddish stars have outer temperatures vicinity of 5000 degrees, bluer stars in neighborhood of 20,000 degrees...why aren't there greenish stars?)

The great square of Pegasus rises in the east by late evening, along with the large "W" of Cassiopeia to the north of Pegasus.  Pegasus' square is oriented like a diamond as it rises, if you follow the chain of stars to the left of "third base" in the diamond, that's the constellation, Andromeda.  At the third star of the chain (counting the third base star as Star 1), go upward two dim stars and look for a faint fuzzy patch.  The light from that patch has been traveling of about 2 million years to your eyes, from the stars of the Great Andromeda Galaxy, M31, sister galaxy to our Milky Way.  The "patch" is a star city of several hundred billion distant suns (stars).  This is the farthest object that unaided eyes can detect!

The bright stars Capella, in constellation Auriga to NE, and Aldebaran in Taurus, to the East, rise in the wee hours, along with the bright star, Fomalhaut, in the SE, all heralding the approach of Fall!

The evening of Sunday, September 27th, the Earth slips between the Sun and Moon, casting our shadow onto the Moon to create a Total Lunar Eclipse visible from anywhere on Earth and safe to view with unprotected eye.  Depending on your location, the time of the eclipse sequence will vary.  For those of us in Oregon, the eclipse progresses at a leisurely pace through the early evening.  Eugene Astronomical Society members will probably be at College Hill reservoir hosting a public viewing event.


 
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