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Sky Watch by J. Alex Knoll

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


The sun’s lost ground is the skywatcher’s gain

  As if to hammer another nail into summer’s coffin, the sun this week sets before 7:00. The darkening sky reveals Venus tight above the southwest horizon, and while the evening star is brilliant at magnitude –4, it, too, is fleeting and sets shortly after the sun.