September 2014

To see a video of this information, go to my YouTube Channel

Fall is on its way and starts on the 22nd this month, while we have Mars and Saturn visible in the early evening and Jupiter and Venus visible early in the morning.

PLANETS...well, the ones visible with your naked eye

Planets you can see around Sunset – Mars (SW), Saturn (SW)

Planets you can see throughout the night

Planets you can see in the Morning – Jupiter (NE), Venus (E)

 

Mercury – Only visible with binoculars

 

Venus Venus is still on its way into the Sun’s glare this month.  It will only be visible low on the horizon for about a half hour around 6am in the East. 

 

Mars – Look in the SW after sunset and look for the visibly red “star”.  It’s hanging out close to Saturn this month.  Get out before 10pm, since that’s about when Mars sets or is too low to be seen.  Close to the Moon on the 1st and 29th.

 

Jupiter – Jupiter is on its way out of the Sun’s glare this month. The best time to look for it in the E is after 4:30am with a clear horizon until sunrise. Closest to the Moon on the 20th. 

 

Saturn – Look in the SW after sunset and look for the brightest “star” in that area.  It’s hanging out to the right of Mars this month.   Just like Mars, get out before 10pm, since that’s about when Saturn sets or is too low to be seen.  Close to the Moon on the 27th.  Try taking out your binoculars or telescope to find the rings at its side. 


EVENTS...

1st– Close Encounter – Mars, Saturn, Moon – Look to the Southwest after sunset.  Find the crescent Moon and look to the right to find Mars and then Saturn.

First Quarter Moon – 2nd (Visible until midnight)

Full Moon – 8th (Visible all night)

Last Quarter Moon – 15th (Visible from midnight into the morning)

20thClose Encounter – Moon, Jupiter – In the morning, get out after 4am and look East for a thin crescent Moon with Jupiter 5˚ up and to the left.

22nd – Fall Equinox – When all locations on Earth experience a day of almost exactly 12 hours and a night of almost exactly 12 hours.  It is the astronomical first day of fall, even though meteorologically it typically starts in the beginning of September.

New Moon – 254h (darkest skies)

27th – 29thClose Encounter – Moon, Saturn, Mars – Get out after sunset but before 8:30pm on the 27th and look West to find a VERY thin crescent Moon with Saturn 3˚ up and to the left. On the next night, the Moon will be right between Saturn and Mars.  Then, on the 29th, the Moon will be directly above the red Mars.

 

 

CONSTELLATIONS... (see sky map link at the bottom for a Star Map for this month – or ask Mr. Webb)    Look straight up and you'll see...

Just after Sunset (around 7:30pm) – Lyra the Harp, Cygnus the Swan

Extra Challenge! Use binoculars (or even a telescope) and a star chart to scan through the southern constellation of Sagittarius.  There are at least 7 easily visible clusters and nebulas up and to the right of the “teapot” of Sagittarius.

Between Sunset and MidnightLyra, Cygnus, Aquila (a little to the south) – These are the Summer constellations, and since they are visible right above us around midnight (and to the east after sunrise), it’s now summer!  More details below in the “General Constellation Finding Tips” 

Midnight – Lacerta, Pegasus, Andromeda – Extra Challenge!  Using your naked eye (dark-adapted and in a dark area) or binoculars under normal conditions and a star chart, try finding our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy.  It’ll be a faint fuzzy in the constellation Andromeda.

Early Morning – Perseus, Auriga -  Also, if you look to the SE in the morning, you’ll find the winter constellations of Orion, Taurus, Auriga, Gemini, and Canis Major.

GENERAL CONSTELLATION FINDING TIPS: 

Summer Constellations: Lyra, Cygnus, Aquila, Delphinus

Look straight up before 10pm and you’ll be able to see Lyra (the Harp), Cygnus (the Swan), Aquila (the Eagle), (and Delphinus the Dolphin.)  These three constellations have the three brightest stars of the summer constellations (Vega, Deneb, Altair – respectively.)  Those bright stars create the summer triangle.  Off to the east of this is the small but beautiful constellation of Delphinus. If you’re under dark skies (away from city lights) you may just catch a glimpse of the Milky Way passing through Cygnus and Aquila.  If you’re looking past 10pm, they’ll be moving toward the West and lower in the sky.

Fall Constellations: Andromeda, Pegasus

If you can find the Summer Triangle and Delphinus, about 40˚ to the East (leftish) will be the Great Square of the fall constellation Pegasus.  Perhaps you’ll even see the two curves of Andromeda off of one side, with the Andromeda Galaxy as a small, faint fuzzy nearby (you’ll need dark skies to see it).  A sky map will help you tremendously in finding these.  You’ll see these in the East after sunset, straight above you around midnight, and in the West in the morning.

Use a sky map from www.skymaps.com to help you out.



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