• Come Friday, the sky above the bandstand will be full of color.
  • Mark Lovewell

Firecracker Astronomers

High above the crowds in Oak Bluffs Friday night, there will be rockets with red, blue and yellow glare. It will be a royal display. But higher than the fireworks, the stars of summer will still be shining. There is color in these objects, too.

Early in the evening the planets Mars and Saturn will appear close together, low in the southwestern sky. Mars has a reddish tint, and Saturn has a slight yellowish tint.

Rising high in the east is the bright star Vega, in the constellation Lyra. Vega is blueish-white and is one of the brightest and nearest stars. Vega is 26 light years away, which is close for a star. Nearby is Altair in the constellation Aquilla. And completing the triangle is Deneb, the principal star in the constellation Cygnus. Altair is southeast of Vega. Deneb is northeast of Vega.

To the west, there is Arcturus, an orange-colored star in the constellation Bootes. Early in the evening, Arcturus is high in the west.

Low in the northwestern sky is the Big Dipper, also called Ursa Major. The constellation depicts both a giant bear and a kitchen implement. If you are looking for the bowl in the dipper, it is positioned to scoop the water out of the sea. The handle is high, the bowl is below it.

Look due south for the bright reddish star Antares. Antares is the principal star in the constellation Scorpius. Antares is the heart of the scorpion. It is a celestial giant. If Antares were to take the place of our sun, the Earth’s orbit would be within the star, and our planet would be cooked.

But on Friday, no star is as brilliant as the fireworks.

Sunrise and Sunset
DaySunriseSunset
Fri., August 225:567:31
Sat., August 235:577:29
Sun., August 245:587:28
Mon., August 255:597:26
Tues., August 266:007:25
Wed., August 276:017:23
Thurs., August 286:027:22
Fri., August 296:037:20

Temperatures and Precipitations
DayMax (Fº)Min (Fº)Inches
August 1577580.08
August 167756T
August 177864T
August 1879570.00
August 1977530.00
August 207854T
August 2176650.00
    

 

 

Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 75º F

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