August 5 Look for Jupiter & Moon Tonight
Tonight – August 5, 2016 – look for the waxing crescent moon to light up the western sky shortly after sunset. Then, in the deepening dusk, look for the dazzling king planet Jupiter close to this slim moon.
Found ’em? Now find two more planets. The bow of the lunar crescent points in the general direction of the planets Mercury and Venus. At mid-northern latitudes, you’ll have to spot Venus some 30 to 45 minutes… after sunset, and Mercury some 45 to 60 minutes after sunset.
Star of the week: Albireo
Albireo – also called Beta Cygni – isn’t the brightest star in the sky. It looks like an ordinary single star to the eye. But peer at it through a telescope, you’ll learn why stargazers love Albireo. With a telescope, you’ll easily see Albireo as a beautiful double star, with the brighter star gold and the dimmer star blue.
How can you see Albireo as two stars? They are best viewed at 30X (“30 power” or a magnification of 30). Unless you have exceedingly powerful binoculars, mounted on a tripod, binoculars won’t show you Albireo as two stars, but any small telescope will. When you do see Albireo as two stars, notice the striking color contrast between the two.
Coathanger: Looks like its name
The Coathanger or Brocchi’s cluster is a tiny asterism – pattern of stars that is not a constellation. This star formation looks exactly like its namesake, and is amazingly easy to make out through binoculars. The whole trick to viewing the Coathanger is to know just where to look.