Southwest of Sagittarius, getting closer to the murky horizon is the bright red star Antares, part of the constellation Scorpius. (The astrologers refer to this constellation as Scorpio.) Now, when it is said that a star is red, like Antares, it doesn’t mean it is red like a stoplight; it means there’s more of a reddish tint to the light. Once you know what to look for you can spot the color at once. Antares is one of only two red super-giants easily visible to the naked eye.
Take your time and sweep both constellations with your binoculars; there are many beautiful star clusters in this region that glitter like tiny jewels. It’s tough with the full Moon out tonight, but do you see any fuzzy spots near Antares and the top of the teapot’s lid? These are a special kind of star cluster known as Globular Clusters. They can contain perhaps 50,000 stars. Using a very large telescope, it is possible to see them all at once, or at least it seems that way. There are a handful of Globular Clusters that are visible to the naked eye (as fuzzy spots), but not in this region of the sky.
Michael Usher is Vice President of the Everglades Astronomical Society which meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 PM at the Norris Center, Cambier Park, Naples.