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3 Things To Look For In The Night Sky This Fall

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The night sky is full of interesting sights but Lake Effect's astronomy contributor Jean Creighton helps pick out three to look for this fall.

As the weather shifts to fall, there’s also a shift in the sky. While it’s now technically autumn, the fall sky offers us the best of both summer and winter stargazing.

Lake Effect astronomy contributor Jean Creighton shares how to find the best constellations and planets the fall sky has to offer:

1. Summer Triangle

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Credit Charles de Mille-Isles / Flickr
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The Summer Triangle can be seen into the fall. You can see it by looking straight up and finding its brightest star, Vega.

"Even though technically we're not in summer anymore, the fact is that we can see the Summer Triangle directly overhead, nice and high," says Creighton. 

The three stars that make up the triangle are Vega, Altair and Deneb. Vega is the brightest of the three, but Creighton says that all three are very bright and can be seen even through light pollution in cities. 

2. Jupiter

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Credit Dualiti Photos / Flickr
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Flickr
Right now, Jupiter will be the brightest object in the sky, outshining the star Sirius, which is normally the brightest.

"Jupiter, in particular, is very bright right now, so Jupiter is going to outshine the brightest star in the sky, Sirius," she says. 

She also notes that all planets, stars, and the moon when low enough in the sky will have a more red or orange tint to them. This is because of the ash in the sky due to the fires on the West Coast, which are affecting the sky across the country. 

3. Andromeda Galaxy

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While the Andromeda galaxy won't appear this bright or large to the naked eye, it is the furthest object that can be seen without help from a telescope or binoculars.

While the Andromeda galaxy is difficult to see with light pollution, you should be able to see it if you're outside of the city.

"You should be able to see a faint, fuzzy blob and that is the most distant object you can see without a telescope or binoculars," she says. 

That galaxy is 2 million light-years away. That means in one night, you can see light from the moon which took around a minute to get to Earth and light from the Andromeda galaxy which took 2 million years to get to Earth. 

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Audrey is a producer, host and reporter for Lake Effect. She is involved with every aspect of the show — from conducting interviews, editing audio, posting web stories and mixing the show together.
Dr. Jean Creighton has always been inspired by how the cosmos works. She was born in Toronto, Ontario and grew up in Athens, Greece where her mother claims she showed a great interest in how stars form from the age of five.
Jack Hurbanis started as the WUWM Digital Intern in January 2020, transitioning to Assistant Digital Producer in July and Digital Producer in January 2021.