22 February 2011

Seeing Summer in Winter - Scorpius and Sagittarius

The early morning sky this week holds some treasures for star gazers. As the view of the heavens changes from season to season, we have a chance to see the symmetry of our sky by looking south-east in the morning. In winter, we see the majestic winter sky in the evening, but by early morning we see the summer sky! How is this possible? Every 12 hours as the Earth rotates on its axis, we face the different constellations and in fact see the "opposite" season in the morning. This week, as the old Moon passes through the summer constellations of Scorpius and Sagittarius, it accentuates the rich beauty of these two constellations, both of which contain many treasures for the unaided eye as well as for those who wish to get out their binoculars for a closer look.

Sagittarius is located in same direction as the center of the Milky Way, and Scorpius is just next to this, so both contain a richness of nebulae and star clusters that are easy to find in binoculars. It's worth the extra 2 minutes in the morning to take a look if you can get outside before the first light of dawn, before 6:00 am in San Francisco.

1 comment:

Sidewalk Universe said...

So much fun to do summer constellations in the middle of winter and winter constellations in the middle of summer. You just have to get up early!

Hey we can see 3 seasons of constellations in our sky at any time - Love it!

Good posting Paul!