There is a rare total lunar eclipse tomorrow night that won’t happen again until 2033. Learn more about how to watch here
So, while you’re looking up enjoying the view, we wanted to tell you about some of the other spectacular sights that will be out that night.
Especially because when the moon is eclipsed, it will make for a particularly dark sky, which is great for observing some of the fainter objects you can’t normally see during a full moon, NASA astronomer Mitzi Adams told Business Insider.
We spoke with Adams about some of the planets, stars, and galaxies that you can catch Sunday night — if you know where to look. We’ve used the free software Stellarium to pin point where these nocturnal attractions will be during the time of the eclipse. Check them out below:
The lunar eclipse will begin at 9:07 p.m. ET, but if you are on the east coast and get outside about 40 minutes earlier, then you can watch the planet Saturn set along the western horizon with your naked eye. If you're on the west coast, Saturn will be higher in the sky. (You can change the settings on Stellarium to fit your location.)
When totality begins at 10:11 p.m. ET the moon will begin to turn a deep blood red. Look to either side of the moon with a telescope and you can see the planets Uranus and Neptune. Here's what the sky will look like at 10:11 p.m. ET along the east coast.
Uranus and Neptune (shown below) are the last two planets in our solar system. They're 1.7 billion and 2.7 billion miles, respectively, from Earth. Beyond them is the dwarf planet Pluto with its five moons and the Kuiper belt -- a thick band of over over 10,000 objects that wraps around the entire solar system.
This next one you can see with your naked eye if you're far from city lights and under a dark sky. To find the Andromeda Galaxy, first look above the moon to the four bright stars that trace a square -- the body of the constellation Pegasus, the horse. Then follow the square's top left star up and east and you should see a fuzzy patch. You've found the Andromeda Galaxy!
Both our home galaxy, the Milky Way, and the Andromeda Galaxy are spiral galaxies, named for the way their arms spiral out from their centres. At a distance of 2.5 million light years away, the Andromeda Galaxy is the closest spiral galaxy to us.
Fall has arrived but the 'Summer Triangle' is still up in the night sky. This feature is a triad of three very bright stars: Deneb, Vega, and Altair, that form a triangular shape in the sky. Look due west above the horizon to spot it:
Vega is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. It's only about 25 light years away and is twice the mass of our sun. Astronomers suspect that Vega (left) is a rapidly rotating star, which would explain its odd egg shape compared to our spherical sun (right).
The three stars in the 'Summer Triangle' are each part of their own constellation, and are, in fact, the brightest stars in their respective constellations. Vega is in the constellation Lyra. Deneb is in the constellation Cygnus. And Altair is in the constellation Aquila. Check them out below:
In total, there are 88 constellations in the night sky. Some are only visible from the northern hemisphere while others are only visible from the south. They can be a useful tool for navigating the sky to find other objects like planets and galaxies.
If you can manage to stay awake into the wee hours of the next morning, there is a spectacular sight that awaits you: Venus will rise over the eastern horizon at about 3:40 a.m. ET, followed by Mars at around 4:10 a.m. ET, and finally Jupiter will appear at 4:50 a.m. Here's what the sky will look like at 5:15 a.m. ET:
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