Sagittarius, the Archer, is a familiar sight to those in the southern hemisphere but observers in northern latitudes may not see the constellation rise very high in their sky. Its brightest stars form the shape of a teapot and the constellation is famous for hosting a number of spectacular gas clouds and star clusters.
The reason for this is simple. When you look at Sagittarius, you’re actually looking toward the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. This is the cloudy band that appears in the image above. Our solar system is thought to be about 26,000 light years away from the center – which is just as well as astronomers believe the galaxy has a very dark heart. Specifically, like many other nearby galaxies, a black hole is thought to reside there!
Image courtesy of Mobile Observatory.
Mercury leaves Taurus and enters Orion. (70% illuminated, magnitude -0.7, diameter 6.0”. Not visible.)
The constellation Sagittarius (the Archer) culminates at midnight tonight. (Naked eye, all night. See above.)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.
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