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Skywatch: Look for the zodiac light in the predawn sky

Skywatch: Look for the zodiac light in the predawn sky

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Sunday: For the next two weeks, the zodiac light will be visible to the east in the predawn sky. Zodiac light is caused by the sun’s light reflected off dust particles along the plane of the solar system. The zodiac light will look like a faint band of light extending upward from the eastern horizon. Moonlight and light pollution mask this phenomenon, so find somewhere nice and dark.

Monday: The crescent moon is near the star Antares tonight in the southwestern sky. The red supergiant star, 700 times wider than the sun, is five degrees below the moon at 7:30 p.m..

Tuesday: The International Space Station is visible moving across the eastern half of the sky this morning. The ISS begins 10 degrees above the southern horizon at 6:47 a.m. By 6:49 a.m. the spacecraft reaches its apex of 23 degrees above the southeast horizon. One minute later the space station passes 4 degrees below the planet Venus and by 6:52 am it has dropped back down to a height of 10 degrees in the east-northeast.

Wednesday: Tomorrow morning the International Space Station makes a very high and bright pass through our sky. The space station starts off in the southwest at 6:47 p.m. It then passes through the constellation of Orion the hunter and the Gemini twins before moving almost directly overhead at 6:50 a.m. The spacecraft is 10 degrees above the southeast horizon at 6:54 am.

Thursday: Four degrees to the upper left of the moon tonight is the planet Saturn. At 8 p.m. Saturn and the nearly half-lit moon are just west of south. Jupiter is also in the area, 5½ degrees to the upper right of the moon and 6 degrees west of Saturn.

Friday: The last long bright transit of the International Space Station across our sky for the week occurs this morning. The spacecraft emerges from the Earth’s shadow at 6:02 a.m., 32 degrees above the southern horizon and about 6 degrees below the bright star Sirius. One minute later the space station reaches its highest point in the sky, 43 degrees above the southeast horizon, then it passes very close to the star Regulus in Leo. By 6:06 a.m. the space station is less than 10 degrees above the east-northeast horizon.

Saturday: Close to overhead tonight is the constellation of Cygnus the Swan. The star at the crossing point of the swan’s wings and its body is a star caller Sadr, pronounced sadder or sudder. This appears like an ordinary yellow white star, but is a rare medium temperature supergiant star. Sadr is also quite a large star, not as large as Antares, but with a radius between 180 and 230 times that of our Sun.

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