For the next week, the twilight sky will feature a close alignment of two bright shiny red objects, Mars and Antares, and the slender Moon wending its way through the southwestern sky. The Moon encounters the ringed planet Saturn on Saturday 27th and then brackets the close pairing of orange-red Mars and the red supergiant star Antares in the constellation Scorpius. This first lunar cycle of autumn should start out beautifully with the waxing Moon and some lovely alignments. Look south and west shortly after sunset each evening for the best viewing.
Fall in the San Francisco Bay Area means clear skies and mild temperatures, and clear skies along the coast - a welcome change after the fog of summer. If you are in the Bay Area in the coming months, stop by the Ritz Carlton Hotel and Resort in Half Moon Bay for a Friday night star party. I am running star parties there a couple Fridays per month and love the setting, the reasonably dark skies, and the fun interaction with guests from all around the world. The patio is located on a stunningly beautiful stretch of California coast next to the 18th green of the Ocean Course. Hope you can make it. Click here for the schedule and more information.
This Saturday is International Observe The Moon Night. Where will you be for this special evening? I'll be conducting sidewalk astronomy in front of the Exploratorium in San Francisco along with other astronomy enthusiasts. The Moon will be a few days away from another Supermoon, and if the skies cooperate, we should have a lovely view of Earth's natural satellite in gibbous phase between first quarter and full. Click the link for more information on International Observe The Moon Night. Hope to see you at an event.
In 2005 I began writing a column for the San Francisco Waldorf School newsletter called "The Urban Astronomer." I started this blog in 2007 as a place to archive my articles and to offer additional insights on the night sky - even if you live in a big city. In 2008 I became an occasional guest on the KFOG Morning Show, and more recently on KALW and KGO. Archived shows are posted on the blog. I conduct private star parties for special events and corporate events. Contact me for details.