Below and left of Jupiter, relatively faint planet Mercury twinkles close above the skyline while, to the right of Mercury, red star Antares, also pale in the dawn light, rises into the winter morning sky.
At the first sight of the clearing, I was wonderstruck by an aerial display of countless blinking golden lights and dipping, curving, white gold lines streaking all over the meadow from the ground up to the treetops.
“Hidden Figures is a history lesson, a math and science lesson, a social lesson, a moral and ethical lesson, and [the Monument community] came together to share these lessons.”
— MMRHS Principal Marianne Young
In the hour before sunrise during the last week of September and the first week of October, an additional incentive to prompt our waking up to go outdoors in the early morning is the promise of witnessing the ethereal zodiacal light.
There’s much more to lure us outdoors at 4 a.m.: Between catching shooting stars, skim the southern skyline to see one of the most compelling constellations, Scorpius the Scorpion, accented by brilliant, red-orange Mars and golden Saturn.
In deepening twilight, above Venus the planet Mars emerges, with its dim but steady, rusty-gold to orange light. The two planets appear closer together each evening, an exquisite show culminating on the 20th when a waxing, eyelash crescent moon joins the pair the day before their closest approach.
Uniquely, right now it is easy for relatively late risers to enjoy the beauty and wonder of celestial dawn. Beginning today and lasting through January 10, sunup in our locale is at 7:22 a.m., the latest of the year.