Watching the Skies: New moon arrives this week

Watching The Skies

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Cloud cover may make stargazing a little difficult this week, but there will be a few neat things to see if the clouds can break apart.

The new moon arrives right at midnight Wednesday. By the evening of Thursday, the moon will be sliver thin in the southwest.

If you’re able to spot the thin moon on the Thursday, you’ll notice it paired up with Mercury. The two will remain close together on Friday and Saturday with the moon growing steadily each night.

To see the two paired up, look to the southwest no later than an hour after sunset. It won’t take long for them to sink beneath the horizon. The moon may be too thin to spot on the Thursday, but both will be visible with the naked eye on Friday and Saturday. The illuminated side of the moon will point toward Mercury.

Keep your eyes open for a few constellations this week as well. Cassiopeia will be visible high in the northern sky after sunset. This constellation is easily distinguishable by its “M” or “W” shape.

The Big Dipper will be easy to pick out as well — low on the horizon in the north. It will be on the opposite side of Polaris, the North Star, from Cassiopeia. The two constellations rotate around the North Star once every day, so you can look for their changing positions in the sky as the night goes on.

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