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5 Sky Events This Week: Scorpius Eyes the Moon, and Jupiter Rises

jupiter-Hubble
This full-disk image of Jupiter was taken on April 21, 2014, with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). Earthbound sky-watchers get to see the gas giant return to the early morning sky this week. Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center)

The moon glides through the mythical scorpion’s claw and appears at its largest in the heavens for 2014.

Lunar Lineup.  As darkness falls on Monday, August 4, the waxing gibbous moon, hanging in the low southwestern sky, is at the end of a cosmic lineup that includes Saturn, Mars, and Spica.

On Monday, August 4, look for the moon after dusk. It will pin down a line-up of sparkling bright star-like objects, planets Mars and Saturn and a true star, Spica. Credit: SkySafari
On Monday, August 4, look for the moon after dusk. It will pin down a line-up of sparkling bright star-like objects, planets Mars and Saturn and a true star, Spica. Credit: SkySafari

Their distinct color differences—orange hues for Mars, yellowish for Saturn, and blue-white for Spica—make them a stunning trio.

Of course if you have a backyard telescope – go ahead and check out those amazing rings around Saturn and the polar cap of Mars.

Moon and Antares.  By the next evening, Tuesday, August 5, the moon will have glided toward the south to perch above the bright red star Antares. At a distance of 600 light-years from Earth, the red giant marks the eye of the constellation Scorpius.

This skychart show the moon near the bright orange star Antares, the lead member of the constellation Scorpius after nightfall on August 5, 2014. Credit: SkySafari
This skychart show the moon near the bright orange star Antares, the lead member of the constellation Scorpius after nightfall on August 5, 2014. Credit: SkySafari

Venus and Pollux. About a half hour before sunrise on Thursday, August 7, look toward the low eastern horizon for a brilliant planet Venus hanging below the fainter but still naked-eye star Pollux, one of the twins in the constellation Gemini.

This yellowish star, 34 light-years distant, will appear only 7 degrees from Venus, which is a mere 11 light-minutes distant. Their separation in the sky will appear about equal to the width of your fist held out at arm’s length.

This skychart shows Venus making its closest approach to Gemini's Pollux twin star at dawn on August 7, 2014. Credit: SkySafari
This skychart shows Venus making its closest approach to Gemini’s Pollux twin star at dawn on August 7, 2014. Credit: SkySafari

Jupiter Returns.  After hiding out behind our sun for weeks, Jupiter makes a triumphant return to the early morning sky on Saturday, August 9.

Look for the king of the planets to rise about 45 minutes before local sunrise, shining through the glare of the dawn. The best way to spot the gas giant is using binoculars at a location with a clear, unobstructed view of the eastern horizon.

Supermoon Returns.  On Sunday, August 10, the moon is at full phase—and the closest it will be to Earth this year, 221,765 miles (356,896 kilometers) away.

 It is also the largest full moon of 2014, rising in the east at sunset.

Follow Andrew Fazekas, the Night Sky Guy, on Twitter and Facebook.

Comments

  1. Faisal
    Pakistan
    September 9, 1:28 am

    Last week there is so much rain in our country’s north and central regions that have never witnessed earlier.I think the environment around us is changing gradually and we shall be experiencing weather changes quite abruptly

  2. duangkeo
    laos PDR
    August 27, 8:04 pm

    i like

  3. Salina
    Pomona ca
    August 27, 3:56 am

    I seen a sparkling object in the sky then it divided in two one went up in the sky and the other one was going down the whole time it was sparkling well they moved very slowly.

  4. tom gannaway
    York
    August 7, 4:45 am

    I saw something in the sky at exactly sun set at around 20 degrees east of the sun low on the horizon. Slowly moving like a meteor skimming the earths atmosphere.
    I looked through my telescope it wasn’t an illusion of sun on the clouds. Is there anything going on meteorological that it could have been?

  5. Norman T. Paul
    Samoa
    August 6, 4:54 pm

    I am in the South Pacific and will be looking out Sunday for this Moon rise. I’ll be on the beach for the long weekend, on the south east coast of Upolu. Thanks for the info!

  6. Francine Wood
    Shelby Township, MI
    August 6, 6:22 am

    ,Magnificent, how beautiful!!

  7. nancy museni
    kenya
    August 5, 3:44 pm

    Thanks for good information,lets wait and see.

  8. tinashe pote
    richards bay South Africa
    August 5, 1:03 pm

    looking forward to the return of the supermoon on august 10

  9. hermenegildo
    mozambique
    August 5, 2:47 am

    ill try to see what is gonna happen,i dont have a telescope…it could be so good if i had one.im 19 and i like astronomy so much.thank you

  10. samfhernandez
    philippines
    August 5, 1:48 am

    nice to know. thanks for this useful info.

  11. phillip Martinez
    United States, Los Angeles, Ca
    August 4, 10:30 pm

    You mentioned, Jupiter, giant of our planets, if Jupiter was a beach ball, how many earth would fit inside Jupiter? I know Jupiter is massive, Sandy wood, made a comment about this fact, about 20 years ago, and I forgot v the answer. You guys are great. Love to read and know this stuff. Thanks

  12. tami
    West virginia
    August 4, 10:25 pm

    It is also so the day I turn 40 years of age it’s strange yet mystical how I have this inner pull how something of tremendous significance is going to happen. ..

  13. Delmys
    guatemala
    August 4, 8:35 pm

    Amigos no olviden traducir al espanol por favor!!

  14. Larry Sessions
    Denver, CO
    August 4, 12:47 pm

    Thank you for the link to EarthSky.