Daybreak comes late enough these days to avail ourselves of the beauty of planet Venus as the shining Morning Star. This week, by 5:20am, look to the east about 20 degrees above the horizon, still rather high. The goddess planet is visible until about 5:45am if you know where to look. Be aware that sunrise on the 14th is at 6:05am and 6 minutes later, at 6:11am on the 20th. Really early risers, see the EarthSky rendering of the pre-dawn sky.
August 19 position of the moon in relation to Venus. On the 18th, the crescent appears above the brilliant planet and to the left of Betelgeuse. At mid-northern latitudes, the harbinger of the cold season – the Winter Circle – looms in the eastern sky in late August.
Sunset tonight, the 14th, is at 7:54pm; on the 20th, 7:46pm. As the evening sky darkens, the brightest stars and planets appear. Planet Jupiter is low in the west-southwest, setting at 10:14pm tonight, the 14th. Glancing south, golden planet Saturn is visible until after midnight. To the right of Saturn, see Antares, the twinkling red star that is the heart of Scorpius the Scorpion. Trace an upward slanting line back to the left from Antares to Saturn and, with a leap, to Altair at the base of the Summer Triangle. Notice brilliant Vega above Altiar and, to Vega’s left, Deneb, creating the Summer Triangle.
In a very clear, moderately dark sky, look for the Great Square of Pegasus as it rises in the east at nightfall and travels the skies all night.
August 21, the date of the next Eyes to the Sky column, coincides with the Great American Solar Eclipse. I’m compelled to reiterate here the details of this celestial event as it will transpire here in Manhattan.
Quoted from that edition:
In our backyard, the partial eclipse begins at about 1:25 p.m. on Monday the 21st of August…… At maximum eclipse, 2:45 p.m., the Sun will be a crescent of light, 72 percent darkened. That’s 1 hour 20 minutes from inception to peak. It will take another 1 hour 15 minutes for the sun to return to full: the partial eclipse ends at 3:58 p.m. See my June 26 column for more information http://www.ebroadsheet.com/eyes-sky-june-26-july-9-2017/
Eyes must be protected from the Sun’s light if you are to look directly at it or, alternatively, by devising ways to see it indirectly. Inexpensive cardboard-framed sunlight filtering glasses are readily available, as are instructions for creating devices for solar projection.