Now that we’re well into Fall, the constellation of Pegasus the Winged Horse is high in the sky. The “Great Square of Pegaus” is a giant (actually slightly rectangular) group of bright stars that makes for a great pointer to the season’s constellations and deep sky objects.
One of those is the most distant object you can see without a telescope – our sister spiral galaxy called The Andromeda Galaxy. Located in the constellation Andromeda, which is right next to Pegasus, we’ll show you the perfect “star hop” to make it easier to find. Even if you’re in the suburbs, the Andromeda Galaxy will appear as a faint oval-shaped smudge of light. What you’re actually seeing is light that is over 2 million years old because it took that long for the light of this galaxy to reach your eyes! Or, said another way, the Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million light years away.
Jupiter is also making a better showing in the night sky now that it’s rising higher in the east each evening. It is by far the brightest star-like object in the eastern sky but it will start out low in elevation early in the evening. If you wait a little later, say 10 p.m., it will have moved higher up into the eastern sky and in a better position to observe with binoculars and telescopes. We’ll show how you can track the four largest moons of Jupiter (the Galilean Satellites) and even see the two largest cloud bands in its atmosphere.
Join us this Saturday, November 3 at 6:45 p.m. for Gateway to the Stars, a “star hopping” experience!