Experienced stargazers recommend that you follow the guideposts in the sky when trying to locate constellations, planets and deep sky wonders. This time of year, the Big Dipper serves as one of those guideposts.
Follow the curve of the Big Dipper's handle away from the "bowl," and you will be directed to Arcturus, the third-brightest star in the sky. Arcturus is currently located high overhead at the bottom of Bootes, a kite-shaped constellation of stars.
Hercules is about 35 degrees to the left of Arcturus. Its faint keystone shape of third- and fourth-magnitude stars is not easy to find, so you will need to observe from a dark location to find its familiar shape.
Before the moon rises this weekend, you will see a "fuzzy star" in Hercules. Through binoculars, that patch of light will reveal itself as thousands of stars that make up the globular cluster M13. Globular clusters are a densely packed collection of older stars that reside outside the spiral arms of our galaxy.
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner.