Waypoints in the sky

25¡SkyCaramba! Weekly astronomy blog for October 25 to 31, 2015
One easy way to learn which astronomical objects are which is to spot them when something you already recognize is nearby. Everybody recognizes the moon. And for several mornings in early November, it will pass some bright stars and planets.

Look to the east before sunrise on Thursday the 5th. You’ll see a last quarter moon below the bright star Regulus. Regulus is the star at the heart of Leo the lion. It’s at the bottom of a group of stars arranged like a sickle or backward question mark that form the lion’s head and mane in the popular images.

On Friday the 6th, a thick crescent moon is just right of Jupiter.

Thinner still, on Saturday the 7th, the crescent moon is right of very bright Venus. Look for dim reddish Mars just above them both.

Still getting thinner, on Sunday the 8th, the moon is right of a star called Porrima. That’s one of the dimmer stars of Virgo.

Then on Monday the 9th, an ever thinner crescent moon is left of Spica, the brightest star in Virgo.

Take a look at these objects every morning and you’ll start to recognize them without the moon being anywhere near.

The moon passes various bright objects in early November 2015