Stargazing At The River

Summer is gone and the Arizona nights are perfect for being outside and enjoying the weather.

Look up this fall and don’t miss the stars in the autumn sky. Dig the telescope out of your closet, or grab a pair of binoculars and get outside.

Find a dark spot to enjoy — may we suggest, the beach at Arizona Oasis is a great spot to lay down, listen to the river and enjoy looking up (hint, hint!).

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Tips

Grab a blanket, something warm to drink & and your favorite person to cuddle with!

Try downloading a stargazing app.

Bring your telescope or grab your binoculars — you’ll want them!

Planets

You can look for both Jupiter and Saturn in the fall sky. To spot a planet, look for something bright in the night sky that doesn’t twinkle like a star.

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To find Jupiter, look for the bright planetary body near the moon. Bring your binoculars, set them on a steady surface and point them at Jupiter — you may catch a glimpse of one of Jupiter’s four largest moons!

Jupiter will be in the southwestern sky and will set around 9 PM towards the beginning of October and a little earlier towards the end of the month.

Saturn will also be visible for all of October. To find it, extend your arm, close your hand and put it out in front of you over Jupiter. Take your hand about three fists towards the east from Jupiter and find the brightest object in that part of the sky — Saturn!

Saturn will be at its highest point around sunset, but it will not set until about midnight during the first part of October. In the later part of the month, Saturn will set around 10 PM. Find out more about spotting Jupiter and Saturn here.

Stars

Even though it’s fall, you can still look directly over head to find the Summer Triangle. Look for the three of the most brilliant stars in the night sky overhead. The Summer Triangle is made of Deneb (the brightest star on the left), Vega (the star to the right) and Altair (the lowest star).

Deneb, from the Arabic word meaning tail, is part of the larger constellation Cygnus the Swam. Once you spot Deneb, look for a couple of bright stars that roughly resemble the shape of a cross — this is the body and wings of Cygnus! Find out more about Cygnus and the Summer Triangle here.

Meteors

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If you are an early morning riser, get up to catch the Orionid Meteor Shower. It will take place from October 21 to 22 this year and you will best be able to see shooting stars in the early morning from 3 AM to dawn.

If you are familiar with the distinctive shape of the constellation Orion, look towards his club to see the center of the meteor action, but don’t worry, meteors will be all over the night sky.

The meteors from this yearly shower come from debris surrounding the Comet Halley as it passes by the earth. Find out more about the Orionid Meteor Shower here.

Grab a spot on the beach, watch the sunset together and enjoy the night sky!

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Want to learn more? Check out cosmicpursuits.com, earthsky.org, jb.man.ac.uk, and space.com.

Photo credit: Niki Sanders, David Menidrey and Prokhor Minin.

Rachelle Manthei