- This Week's Night Sky
This Week's Night Sky: Spot a Trio of Spiral Galaxies
See galactic triplets, the faraway gas giant Neptune, and an asteroid gliding past Earth.
Under dark, moonless skies this week, the king of the celestial jungle revels galactic treasures, and Saturn points the way to the Scorpion’s stellar claw.
The most distant gas giant in the solar system lies so far away from Earth that sunlight reflecting off its upper cloud deck takes about 251 minutes to reach us. Shining at only 7.9 magnitude, Neptune is too faint to see with the naked eye. Sky-watchers will need at least binoculars to catch a glimpse of it as a faint blue-tinged star, but the planet is best hunted down with a backyard telescope. Under high magnification, the distant giant will be an obvious tiny disk with distinct coloration against a backdrop of fainter pinpoint stars.