See a bright celestial trio in the night sky this week!
A celestial triangle in the western sky. Credit: Stellarium/S. Sutherland
Tuesday, September 6, 2016, 4:22 PM - A persistent bright triangle in the western evening sky and watching the waxing Moon. Read on for what there is to see in the night sky this week!
Persistent western triangle
Look to the west, in the hours just after sunset, on any clear night this week, and you will see three celestial objects forming a bright triangle in the sky.
The view of the celestial triangle at 9 p.m. local time, Sept 6, 2016 (Sept 9 for Saturn inset). Credit: Stellarium/S. Sutherland
Planets Mars and Saturn, and the red supergiant star Antares form the points of this triangle. Look through a telescope at Mars and Saturn and the inset views, above, will come into focus - Mars with Phobos and Deimos, and Saturn with Titan, Rhea, Tethys, Dione and Enceladus.
Joining the trio in the sky this week is the Moon, in its crescent phase to start, but waxing as the week progresses.
Wax On, Moon
Starting off as a thin crescent, the Moon will be waxing throughout the week - which is to say that it will be getting brighter as more of the side that is facing us is illuminated by the Sun.
The Moon passing through its phases from Sept 5 to Sept 11, 2016. Credit: Stellarium/S. Sutherland
The term "waxing" comes from the Old English weaxan, which basically means "to increase." This is used to describe the phases of the Moon as it transitions from New Moon to Crescent Moon to Gibbous Moon to Full Moon.
After the Full Moon, as the phases transition back through Gibbous and Crescent to New Moon, the term "waning" is used, from the Old English "wanian", which means "to lessen."
It's fairly quiet in the sky this week, but come back next week when we feature a challenging lunar eclipse!
Night sky conditions
Watch below as this short video runs through the general cloud conditions for each night this week.
Since the forecast may change throughout the week, check back for updates, to see when the best times will be to look at the night sky in your area.