Star-spangled Dawn


Tomorrow morning (Monday the 17th), the moon floats just above brilliant Venus in the predawn sky. This map shows the sky looking east around 4 a.m. local time. Joining the scene are Mars and five bright stars: Aldebaran in Taurus the Bull, Betelgeuse and Rigel in Orion and Castor and Pollux in Gemini. Created with Stellarium.

Just a quick reminder this evening. If you’re up tomorrow before sunrise, be sure to look east to catch a fine Venus-crescent moon pairing. Lots of other bright stars will be in the vicinity as well. Truly a star-spangled dawn.

2 Responses

  1. Rhino

    Finally managed to get some dark skies last night at my house. (Moon is out of the way). Although I had to wait until after 10:30p before the HS turned the football field lights off. When your yard is daylight its tough to see anything.

    Even in the middle of Cloquet I could clearly make out the Milky Way overhead. Countless stars through both binoculars and at low power through scope. One could easily get lost out there.

    Spent some time observing Jupiter, although I am having trouble with its brillant brightness. Does anyone recommend a particular color filter to enhance the cloud belts while controlling glare?

    With the advice of fellow Arrowhead Astronomical Society members to view M27 (Dumbbell Nebula); I took on the task. I managed to find it after checking the charts a couple times. I tried out my UHC nebula filter and was absolutely blown away. It is very bright and pops right out of the black background. I was surprised by how big it is. The UHC definately made the difference. My dad was at my side again tonight and he too was impressed.

    Next stop the Veil Nebula. My dad wasn’t able to see this one, but a faint large arc ran through the entire eyepiece. It resembled a wavey parenthesis )

    Not a bad night after it cooled off Surprisingly no bugs either. I’m trying to make it a point to find astleast one new object a night.

    Bob can you recommend any other nebulas that are easy to find?

  2. astrobob

    Hi Rhino, great night last night, wasn’t it? I have the same problem with Jupiter’s glare and use a green filter to tame it. You can also use a neutral density or polarizing filter. Here’s a few recommendations for nebulae: NGC 6543 (bright blue planetary nebula in Draco), M8, M20 and M17 (a favorite) in Sagittarium-Serpens, NGC 6818 (another nice planetary in Sagittarius), the Helix Nebula in Aquarius (if you’re up late. You’ll hardly see without a filter but the filter will give an amazing view). There are plenty others but perhaps that’s a start.

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