In the Sky This Month

In the Sky This Month


The Moon rolls past one bright light after another this month, including the brilliant planets Venus, Jupiter, and Mars. At the same time, two of the signature star patterns of summer, Scorpius and Sagittarius, roll low across the south. Scorpius really does look like a scorpion, while the brightest stars of Sagittarius, which represents a centaur holding a bow and arrow, form a wide teapot.

August 28: Bootes

The constellation Bootes, the herdsman, stands high in the west in early evening. Its leading light, yellow-orange Arcturus, is one of the brightest stars in the entire sky.

August 29: Tea Time

The “teapot” of Sagittarius steams low across the southwest on late-summer evenings. The spout of the teapot lines up in front of the center of the galaxy, which is about 27,000 light-years away.

August 30: Shadow Play

Look low in the east shortly after sunset for a blue-gray band atop the horizon with a thin layer of pink above it, fading into the blue of the daytime sky. The dark band is Earth’s own shadow, which extends far into space.

August 31: Sagitta

Sagitta, the third-smallest constellation, lies between Altair and Vega, two of the stars of the Summer Triangle. Many civilizations saw this pattern as an arrow knifing through the heavens. It stands high over in the northeast at nightfall.