To all of my northern hemisphere early risers:
Around 6:00 A.M you may be able to find several objects in that I always look forward to seeing.
If you saw my last article What’s Up in the Sky Tonight you saw me outline some of the stars visible in our night sky. The mornings have some pretty cool views too.
You don’t need a telescope, you don’t even need binoculars, but you will want to step outside in an area without much light. I’m sure people reading who have telescopes already know what to look at, but for those just starting or with a curiosity about space, try finding these objects in the sky in the morning.
Jupiter (S/SW) – Jupiter will be one of the brightest objects in our morning sky. It has a yellowish tint to it. Those with really good binoculars or a telescope should be able to see four of Jupiter’s moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto). These moons are also called the Galilean moons because Galileo Galilei discovered them in 1610.
Arcturus (SW) – Arcturus is one of the brightest stars we will see in the morning. It has an orange tint to it, and is above and to the right of Jupiter. Arcturus has 1.5 times the mass of our own sun, but more than 113 times the luminosity (how much light it emits). Arcturus is bit smaller than the star Rigel I mentioned in my last article.
Saturn (SE) – It’s always exciting to see our two largest planets in the solar system at the same time in the sky. Saturn will be closer to the horizon than Jupiter, but you will be able to see the yellow dot in the sky easily.
Mars (SE) – It’s even more exciting to see the largest planets paired with a planet within the same line of site. Mars will look like a red dot and it will be just to the right of Saturn.
Vega (SE) – Vega is consistently in our sky pretty much right above our heads. It’s one of the brightest stars you will see in the morning. Vega will be the white dot you see above your head.
I mentioned it before, but I use Celestron’s Sky Portal app on my phone to help me locate the stars. If you feel yourself wondering what’s up in the sky, I would look into an app that helps you see what your looking at. When I first started my amateur astronomy, the Sky Portal app helped me recognize everything above me.
Let me know how it went for you early risers!