For skywatchers in the western hemisphere the waxing crescent Moon will swing by the Scorpion’s heart, Antares, early this evening.
Look for the Moon in the low southwest sky after sunset. About seven full moon disks to its upper left will be the bright orange supergiant star that is the lead member in the constellation Scorpius. While this ancient pattern of stars is well above the horizon for northern latitude observers in the late summer, by end of September its lower half is hidden below the horizon – except for 600 light year distant Antares.
For observers in most of Asia and Pacific basin, the Moon will actually occult – or eclipse – Antares in the late Wednesday afternoon.
Did you know that the portrait of this beast in the sky has no claws -like a real scorpion does? Actually when the ancient Greek’s fomed this constellation it did have claws. But later in Roman times around the first-century AD, Julius Ceasar and his senator buddies decided that Rome needed a cosmic tribute – so they cut off the Scorpion’s claws and made it into its own constellation representing scales of justice, we call Libra. Legends had it that the Moon was in the part of the sky occupied by Libra when Rome was founded, hence its special place in history.
Tags: Antares, Scorpius
Posted in Constellations, Stargazing, The Moon, stars | 51 Comments »