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Star Gazing - October 21, 2019
Monday, Oct. 21
• Last-quarter Moon; exactly so at 8:39 a.m. EDT. Many hours later, when the Moon rises around midnight
or 1 a.m. tonight, the Moon's terminator will already be looking just a little concave. The Moon will then be
in dim Cancer, below Castor and Pollux and left of Procyon.
Binoculars will not only show the shape of the terminator better, they should also reveal the loose Beehive
Star Cluster just a few degrees from the Moon within the same binocular field of view — if the air is
sufficiently clear and clean.
By dawn Tuesday morning the Moon will be high in the southeast.
Tuesday, Oct. 22
• Deneb is the zenith star after nightfall (for skywatchers at mid-northern latitudes). Brighter Vega shines
to its west. Altair shines farther down to Deneb's south-southwest.
While it's still twilight, draw a line from Deneb through the midpoint between Vega and Altair. Keep
following this line way down, and you'll hit Jupiter low in the southwest, on its way to setting.
Wednesday, Oct. 23
• It's getting to be the time of year when the Big Dipper lies down horizontal low in the north-northwest in
the evening. How low? The farther south you are, the lower. Seen from 40° north (New York, Peoria,
Denver) even its bottom stars twinkle nearly ten degrees high. But at Miami (26° N) the entire Dipper
skims along out of sight just below the northern horizon.
Thursday, Oct. 24
• Look for Capella sparkling low in the northeast these evenings. Look for the Pleiades cluster,
fingertip-size, about three fists at arm's length to Capella's right. These harbingers of the cold months rise
higher as evening grows late.
Upper right of Capella, and upper left of the Pleiades, the stars of Perseus lie astride the Milky Way.
Friday, Oct. 25
• The Ghost of Summer Suns. Halloween is approaching, and this means that Arcturus, the star sparkling
low in the west-northwest in twilight, is taking on its role as "the Ghost of Summer Suns." For several days
centered on October 25th every year, Arcturus occupies a special place above your local landscape. It
closely marks the spot where the Sun stood at the same time, by the clock, during hot June and July — in
broad daylight, of course!
So, as Halloween approaches every year, you can see Arcturus as the chilly remaining ghost of the departed
Saturday, Oct. 26
• The W of Cassiopeia now stands vertically on end in the evening, high in the northeast. To its right, high
in the east, are Andromeda and the corner-balanced Great Square of Pegasus.
Starry, Starry Night . . .
"I know nothing of any certainty, but the sight of the stars
makes me dream." -Vincent Van Gogh