The Sky This Week: A Celestial Journey from October 18 to 20

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As the day winds down on Wednesday, October 18, catch a glimpse of the waxing Moon passing 0.8° north of Antares shortly after sunset.

The reddish point of light, Antares, will be visible about 7° above the southwestern horizon.

The excitement is real!

Look to the upper left (east) of Antares, and you might spot the Teapot of Sagittarius, which lies near the center of our Milky Way.

Above Sagittarius is Aquila the Eagle, whose brightest star, Altair, is part of the Summer Triangle asterism.

On Thursday, October 19, discover the gegenschein, a faint glow appearing directly opposite the Sun in the night sky.

This elusive phenomenon is created by sunlight scattering off interplanetary dust at the second Lagrange point of the Earth-Sun system.

To observe the gegenschein, venture to a dark location with no light pollution.

Wait until the Moon has set and there are no other sources of light in the sky.

The best time to spot it is around local midnight, in the zodiacal constellation closest to due south.

On Friday, October 20, Mercury reaches superior conjunction, temporarily hidden from view.

But early risers can catch a dazzling sight—Venus, the bright morning star—high in the east before dawn.

About an hour before sunrise, Venus shines around 30° high near the back paws of Leo the Lion. Its brilliance at magnitude -4.5 outshines Leo's brightest star, Regulus.

Through a telescope, Venus reveals a nearly 50 percent illuminated disk, gradually approaching dichotomy—the moment when it is exactly half-lit.

Observe Venus over the next few days to witness its evolving phase.

Remember that the appearance of Venus as 50 percent lit can vary by several days, so make your own observations.

Watch it against the brightening twilight sky, but ensure you put away your optics several minutes before sunrise.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of the night sky as the week unfolds. The Moon continues its waxing crescent phase, adding to the celestial spectacle.

Enjoy the sunrise at 7:16 A.M. and the sunset at 6:13 P.M., while the Moonrise and Moonset times shift along with its crescent phase.

Embark on this celestial journey, witness the wonders of the night sky, and discover the mysteries that unfold above us. Stay tuned for more captivating stories from the cosmos.