The last quarter moon was beautiful this morning. I was out with the dog at 7 a.m., looked up and there it was nearly at the top of the sky. I was tempted to take out the telescope but had to move on to other things. Scope owners – even binocular users – who are up in the early morning after sunrise can make the moon their target. As you can see from the photo, the craters at this phase are magnificent. They make a sweet contrast to the large, dark lunar seas.
We begin a new month today with numerous astronomical highlights not the least of which is Jupiter. The giant planet will be its closest to Earth in 47 years and the apple of many a sky watcher’s eye. Jupiter comes up in the east around 9 p.m. and is easily visible by 10:30. It’s that hugely bright star you simply can’t miss. Once found, you can use the planet to locate the flying horse constellation, Pegasus. Look two fists above and to the left of Jupiter to trace out the Great Square, a nifty figure hard to miss. Once you’ve nailed the square’s four corner stars, connect the dots to the horse’s legs (upper right corner of the Square) and its long neck and head which begin at the square’s lower right corner. By the way, this horse is flying upside down. No matter, there is no up or down in outer space.