Tonight's Sky
Sun
Sun
Moon
Moon
Mercury
Mercury
Venus
Venus
Mars
Mars
Jupiter
Jupiter
Saturn
Saturn

Tonight's Sky — Change location

OR

Searching...

Tonight's Sky — Select location

Tonight's Sky — Enter coordinates

° '
° '

Where are the stars?

The Milky Way's beacons are in short supply, but astronomers should never fear the dark.
RELATED TOPICS: STARS
bob_berman_2009
Quick: How many constellations does the Milky Way traverse? Don’t know, do you? Neither did I until I looked it up. It’s 27. Not one is high and prominent this month for Northern Hemisphere observers.

But if someone asked where our galaxy looks brightest, you’d correctly say Sagittarius. In pristine dark places where the Teapot asterism is overhead — the Southern Hemisphere — the Milky Way is so bright that it casts shadows. Its exact center is marked by the radio source Sagittarius A* (pronounced, “A-star”), which corresponds to the 4.3 million-solar-mass black hole around which our entire galaxy pivots. That visually rich region is a good reason to make a pilgrimage far south of your ZIP code. Down there, the Milky Way also runs through the Southern Cross, Crux, currently overhead in Chile and Australia.

Astronomy magazine subscribers can read the full column for free. Just make sure you're registered with the website.

Already a subscriber? Register now!

Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on Astronomy.com, please log in below.
ADVERTISEMENT

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Receive news, sky-event information, observing tips, and more from Astronomy's weekly email newsletter.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
asy_gravitational_eguide

Click here to receive a FREE e-Guide exclusively from Astronomy magazine.

Find us on Facebook