Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science
We draw in the arrowhead-shape figure of the constellation Capricornus by the moon on tonight’s chart. However, you are not likely to see this star pattern tonight because of the overwhelming glare of the full-looking waxing gibbous moon.
When the moon drops out of the evening sky by the end of the month, you will be able to see this loop of stars in a dark sky. The signpost of the summer skies – the Summer Triangle – faithfully escorts you to this constellation. Yesterday’s sky chart shows you the Summer Triangle.
Look for the three brilliant stars of the Summer Triangle high above the moon tonight. An imaginary line drawn downward from the star Vega through the star Altair points in the direction of Capricornus. Learn this trick while the moon is out tonight. Then employ this trick on a moonless night to find Capricornus the Sea-goat.
Whenever a bright moon beams in front of Capricornus, I am reminded of Typhon the fire-breathing monster. In the lore of the heavens, Capricornus the Sea-goat tells the story of the Greek god Pan’s misadventure with Typhon. When Pan tried to elude Typhon by turning into a fish, he Pan-icked and turned into a goat-fish instead!
Written by Bruce McClure