As summer time has already ended, the constellation Sagittarius, along with the other Summer constellations sets earlier during the month of October.
Sagittarius is believed to have originated with the Babylonians. He was their god of War, and he stands with his bow aimed at the heart of Scorpius, the scorpion. Like Centaurus, he is a half man, half beast creature.
We in modern times may not be able to imagine the stars of Sagittarius as a Centaur. Instead, many stargazers know the stars of Sagittarius as a “Teapot”. This asterism is really easy to recognize.
Sagittarius is an important constellation in that it marks the direction of the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. It also contains more Messier objects than any other constellation in the sky.
Earlier this evening, I took the chance to take an image of the “Teapot” before it disappears in the night sky. I was also planning to image Scorpius but it was already too low in the south west. As I looked at the image more closely, I began to noticed something interesting. On the right (just above its lid), there is a faint cloud-like patch that resembles the Milky Way. I got surprised. 🙂
Could it be really possible to see a faint apparition of the Milky Way in this light-polluted suburb?
Last Jan. 25, Saturn, Spica and the Moon formed a beautiful triangular celestial grouping. During the following days, early risers can watch the waning crescent Moon pass bright Venus, with Antares and Scorpius looking on. Check southeastern sky a few hours before sunrise.
Location of the Moon in the predawn sky for the next few days:
Jan. 29 — Moon is near the red star Antares in the constellation Scorpius
Jan. 30 — Venus and Crescent Moon are almost 5 degrees apart
Jan. 31 — Moon will be located just above the “Teapot” asterism in Sagittarius
Feb. 1 — Moon and Mercury will be less than 10 degrees from each other
This is a good opportunity to spot these celestial objects because of their proximity with one another and because of their perfect location within the prominent constellations. Clear skies! 🙂
Reference: Stellarium Planetarium Software
The month of September which was highlighted with rich planetary displays, the occurrence of autumnal equinox and an international moon viewing event was just over. This also marked the change of seasons and the start of having longer nights.
In the Philippines, September is usually visited by several typhoons which means that most of the time, the sky is cloudy. If you live in the city where light pollution is more severe, your chances of having a clear sky with good viewing conditions also diminishes.
This is why, seeing the sky full of stars one clear September night was really a great blessing for us. Thank God there was fairly good view of the south and western sky where the nice crescent moon together with two of the most prominent zodiacal constellations, Scorpius and Sagittarius could be found then. The red star Antares, heart of Scorpius, was just a few degrees below the beautiful waxing crescent moon.
But not only Luna and these constellations were captured by the camera. Three deep-sky objects surprised us after giving the pictures a closer look! 😀 These objects were usually difficult to see without the aid of binoculars or telescopes.
I wish the sky would always be like this 🙂
Thank you to Andre Obidos, a fellow amateur from the Philippines, who took these photos using Canon PowerShot SX 20.
Clear skies to all! 😀