It doesn't happen very often, where all of the weather and astronomical conditions are literally perfect for stargazing, so when it does I love to take advantage of it.

Yesterday was one of those days, and tonight should be another.

A few things are coming together perfectly right now:

The weather yesterday and today is warm with nice, low humidity, which has been encouraging very few clouds. No clouds of course means a perfect view of the sky.

The Moonrise is going to be pretty late - after 11pm for the next few days. A late rising Moon means that, even only a few days removed from a full Moon, the light from our nearest celestial neighbor won't be washing out the night sky until the overnight hours.

So, what is there to see? Well, first, we're only about a week past the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower. While the peak has passed, you still may see some stragglers streaking through the night sky.

Last night, I was dazzled by just how bright and clear the summer constellations were. Particularly Sagittarius, which really popped above my neighborhood. The Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, and of course Perseus (which the meteor shower is named for) are all clearly identifiable.

What if you don't know the constellations by sight? Well, good news! If you have a smartphone, you can download any number of apps which will help you identify what you're looking at. I highly recommend SkyView for the iPhone.

Happy stargazing, Ocean County!


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