The moon appears low in the south in our evening skies this weekend. The gibbous moon spends the weekend going through the zodiacal constellation Sagittarius, the southern-most constellation in the zodiac. For those walking along the Island’s south shore, the moon will be an especially impressive sight, so close to the water and to the horizon.

The moon will appear higher in the coming week as it moves farther along the zodiac, passing into the constellation Capricornus. The moon will be full Tuesday through Wednesday. The August full moon is referred to as the Sailor’s Moon.

“Because we focused on the snake, we missed the scorpion,” laments an Egyptian proverb. 

Don’t miss the scorpion.

Though it is summer and a busy time for all, take a minute to gaze skyward to see the night’s super stars. Among the most famous is a classic constellation that says summer.

The Moon and Saturn appear as a pair low in the eastern sky after sunset tonight. The two are in the zodiacal constellation Libra. The moon is one day past full moon and only slightly dimmer than it was last night.
This weekend, the moon passes through the zodiacal constellation Scorpius, a constellation we most often associate with summer. If you are up late tonight, around midnight, the constellations you mostly see are our summer constellations.

The ringed-planet Saturn rises late in the evening.  On Sunday night, the planet is accompanied by the gibbous moon. Both rise in the east at about 11 p.m., and are in the zodiacal constellation Libra.

Early Tuesday morning, two days later, the last quarter moon appears low in the southeastern sky. The moon rises after midnight and is in the zodiacal constellation Scorpius, a constellation we more often associate with summer.

Spring is Coming

When the weather is fair and the sky clear, the Vineyard can feel like the top of the world. This is especially true in January. Typical winter conditions, such as steady air, bright stars and a transparent atmosphere, make for optimal stargazing conditions, on par with the best stargazing locations on Earth, including mountaintops. The most familiar constellations are also within view, high in the sky, at this time.
In the earliest years of astronomy, no one had a clear understanding of the magic of the stars in the skies. Twinkling stars were untouchable, yet they glowed every night. Naming the constellations after mythological creatures probably came out of an effort to both understand and remember.