The magnificent Ring Nebula makes for a stunning sight to view the sky this week

I would assume that almost any good book on astronomy would contain a picture of what can best be described as the “smoke ring” of the sky. Others may call it a donut or a cosmic bagel, but the popular name for this object is simply the Ring Nebula, located in the constellation Lyra, Lyra. Although generally considered a summer constellation, Lyra is still very much set to be seen, now more than two weeks into the fall season.

Go outside this week around 10pm local time of day and face the sunrise. About two-thirds of the way up from the horizon, you’ll spot a bright bluish-white star. This is Vega, the brightest star in Lyra. The only other star at that hour that outshines Vega in brightness is yellow-orange Arcturus in the constellation Boötes the Shepherd. But Arcturus will be in the opposite part of the sky, about halfway to the southwest.

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