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Sky Watch by J. Alex Knoll

From Zeus’ paramour to Arthur’s kingdom

The waxing moon reaches first-quarter on the 14th, appearing due south as the sun sets, well before 6:30 this week, and setting around midnight. Each night the moon appears 15 degrees farther east at sunset, and each evening it sets almost an hour later. The night of the 19th, the gibbous moon passes six degrees north of brilliant Jupiter.  Jupiter, brighter than any star, beckons low in the east-southeast as darkness settles. Look for him high in the south around midnight and edging westward hour by hour before setting around 4am. 

In the case of brightness, less is more

 

The always puzzling Draconids

  Thursday’s new moon provides an unobscured backdrop for this year’s Draconid meteor shower, which peaks at week’s end. Not some early Halloween reference to Dracula, this annual meteor shower is named for the constellation Draco the dragon, from which the meteors seem to emanate. It’s tricky to predict the rate of the Draconids each year, but there is always the potential for some awesome stellar treats. 

Circling earth at more than 17,000 miles an hour, the International Space Station is a fleeting target

 

Look low in the west after sunset for your own UFO

 

All those phases are just figments of our own perception

 

While binoculars help reveal distant stars and planets, our own galaxy is disappearing before our very eyes

 

The heavenly bull’s glare

As darkness settles, the bright glow of Jupiter pierces the east-southeast horizon, by far the brightest light in the sky, as the moon spends this week waning through pre-dawn skies. The gaseous giant is high in the south at midnight, and as dawn nears, it sets beneath the western horizon.

A lot of factors explain this puzzle

 

Still plenty to see in nine hours