As the clock strikes midnight, waning Moon climbs into the east-northeast, well left of its companion last night, Jupiter. As the Moon climbs higher in the hours after midnight, take note of the patch of faint stars to its left, known as the Seven Sisters, or the Pleiades. Jupiter re-visits the Seven Sisters about 2 hours earlier each month this fall.

The dark, moonless evenings feature the brightest section of the Milky Way due south near 10:00 PM. We are viewing into the heart of our galaxy, where the density of stars is estimated to be up to one million times more dense than our skies, 25 thousand light years from the center.

One of the curious features in the Milky Way, next to the star Deneb, the least bright star in the Summer Triangle, is a patch of dark sky, known as the Northern Coal Sack. It is not an absence of stars, but rather a thick cloud of gas and dust blocking the light from more distant stars.