Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, August 24th and 25th, 2020

This is the Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, August 24th and 25th, written by Joe Slomka.

The Sun sets at 7:42 PM; night falls at 9:25. Dawn begins at 4:30 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 6:13.

Monday’s Moon, in Libra, sets at 11:07 PM, 24% illuminated. Tuesday’s First Quarter Moon rises at 1:57 PM, appearing 53% lit in Scorpius, highest at 6:51 PM, and sets at 11:44 PM. Note Tuesday’s Moon’s proximity to Antares.

Sagittarius houses Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn. Jupiter rises at 5:29 PM, highest at 9:57 PM and sets at 2:30 AM. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (an earth-sized storm) is visible at 10:20 PM, Monday. Tuesday, the Jovian moon Europa begins to cross the planet’s face at 11:07 PM, its shadow appears at 12:56 AM; Europa leaves Jupiter’s face at 1:53 AM, followed by the shadow at 3:45 AM. Pluto, 5° away follows Jupiter at 5:50 PM, a dim 14th magnitude, appearing as a tiny spec and sets at 2:51 AM.

Saturn, 8° from Jupiter, rises at 5:57 PM, shines with zero magnitude, 18 arc-seconds in size, highest at 10:32 and sets at 3:12 AM.

Blue-green Neptune rises in Aquarius at 8:32 PM, glows with 8th magnitude and 2 arc-seconds. Minor Planet 1Ceres, also in Aquarius, rises at 9 PM, glows with 8th magnitude and highest at 1:30. Ceres is approaching Opposition on August 28th. Although both share Aquarius, Ceres lies about 19° from Neptune. Uranus, in Aries, rises at 10:17 PM, sparkles with 5th magnitude, 3-arc seconds. Pluto, Neptune, Uranus and 1Ceres all require finder charts from astronomy websites or magazines. They also set during daytime.

Red Planet Mars rises in Pisces at 10 PM, shines with minus 1st magnitude, 17 arc-seconds large and highest at 4:25. Mars continues to grow brighter and larger in our binoculars and telescopes. Venus brings up the rear, rising at 2:33 AM in Gemini, blazing with minus 4th magnitude, 20 arc-seconds, and 56% lit. Mars and Venus also set during daytime.

Some images in the night sky duplicate constellations. For example, Bears. We have Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, the Great and Little Bears. There are two horses in the night sky: Pegasus and Equuleus. So, also, there are two Centaurs in the sky: Sagittarius and Centaurus. Sagittarius has ancient roots. The Mesopotamians portrayed a man-horse as early as 4200 years ago. Ancient Greece adopted the image and gave it unique powers. However, it is uncertain when the hybrid figure became an archer – the translation of the word “Sagittarius.” Sagittarius is low in the southwest at nightfall; Centaurus is visible from Florida or more southern latitudes.

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