Posts Tagged ‘Autumnal equinox’

Many Astronomical Events Coming Up!

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

September is a busy month: besides Jupiter and Uranus reaching opposition at the same time, Mercury will reach its greatest western elongation, and the Autumnal Equinox and harvest moon will occur.

Mercury will reach its greatest western elongation on September 19. It will rise over an hour before sunrise and should be a great telescope target in the eastern sky into late September. It will appear at its highest and brightest point on the 19th.

The Autumnal Equinox occurs September 22 and the harvest moon follows September 23. The harvest moon is the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox, called that because its rising time nearly overlaps the setting sun so farmers could continue the harvest into the night hours due to the moon’s light. Since the Autumnal Equinox, when the sun rises due east and sets due west (everywhere except at the poles), is on September 22, the full moon the following night (September 23) is the harvest moon.

Please Note: The above article is made possible by the research and writing of JJ Stamm - Thank you JJ

September 2010

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Autumnal Equinox

Autumn begins on September 22nd, when the Autumnal Equinox occurs. The Autumnal Equinox occurs when the tilt of the Earth is in tangent with the orbit of Earth around the Sun.  This point marks the beginning of Autumn.  An Equinox has an equal amount of daylight and nighttime.

Lunar Events

The New Moon for September occurs on Wednesday, September 8th, which will make the weekends of September 4-5 and September 11-12 good times for dark sky observing.

The Full Moon for September occurs on September 21st, the day before the Autumnal Equinox.  Since this Full Moon is the closest full moon to the equinox it is the Harvest Moon and the following full moon on October 22nd is then the Hunter’s Moon.

Mercury

Mercury re-emerges into the morning hours from the sunrise around September 11th, ends it’s retrograde motion and by September 19th reaches its best position for morning observation when it reaches its Greatest Western Elongation

On September 19th, Mercury will be 17°52’ from the Sun and rise 1 hour, 12 minutes before sunrise. Mercury Opposition

Mercury starts September located in the constellation Sextans (The Sextant) and as it emerges into the morning of September 11th, crosses into the constellation Leo (The Lion).  Finally, on September 29th, Mercury moves into the constellation Virgo (The Maiden).

Venus

Venus is still the Evening Star this month and begins September in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) and on September 24th crosses into the constellation Libra (The Balance).

Venus Spica Mars
Venus begins this month a mere 1°20’ from the Star Spica and less
than 4°30’ from Mars.

Venus Moon
On September 11th, the waxing, crescent Moon passes less
than 0°30’ from Venus.

Mars

Mars is observable in the evening this month.  At the start of September, Mars sets around 8:05 pm (PDT) and by the end of the month Mars sets around 7:05 pm  (PDT).

Mars starts September in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden), and by the end of month, Mars sets around 7:05 pm (PDT).
On September 5th, Mars is a mere 2° from the star Spica.

Venus, Mars, Spica and Moon
On September 10th, Venus, Mars, the star Spica and the waxing,
crescent Moon are grouped within 6 to 8° from each other.

Jupiter

Since Jupiter is reaching opposition this month on September 21st, it is in excellent position for observation.  Jupiter is up all night and is at it’s closest point to Earth in its orbit.  Jupiter can be found in the constellation Pisces (The Fish) for the entire month.

Jupiter and Uranus
Jupiter is in proximity to the planet Uranus all month and is a great starting point for location Uranus. By September 18th, Jupiter and Uranus are less than 0°50’ from each other and they both reach opposition on the same date, September 21st!

Jupiter, Uranus and Moon
On September 22nd, the Full Moon is within 6° of Jupiter and Uranus,
which may make it difficult to observe Uranus on that night.

Saturn

Saturn is located in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) until December 2012 and is visible during the evening hours just after sunset during the first half of September. By September 13th, Saturn is disappearing into the glare of the Sunset.

Saturn and Moon
On September 9th, the waxing, crescent Moon passes within 10° of Saturn.

Uranus

Since Uranus is reaching opposition this month on September 21st, it is in excellent position for observation.  Uranus is up all night and is at it’s closest point to Earth in its orbit.  Uranus can be found in the constellation Pisces (The Fish) until May 2012.

Jupiter and Uranus
Uranus is in proximity to the planet Jupiter all month which is a great starting point for location Uranus. By September 18th, Jupiter and Uranus are less than 0°50’ from each other and they both reach opposition on the same date, September 21st!

Jupiter, Uranus and Moon
On September 22nd, the Full Moon is within 6° of Jupiter and Uranus, which may make it difficult to observe Uranus on that night.

Neptune

Neptune can be observed in the constellation Capricornus (The Sea Goat) until January 2011.  Neptune is observable until the very early morning hours of September. At the start of September Neptune sets around 4:30 am (PDT) and by the end of the month sets around 2:30 am (PDT).

Neptune and Moon
On September 20th the waxing, gibbous Moon passes about 4° from Neptune’s position.

Pluto

Pluto is located in the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer) until the year 2023.  Pluto can be observe during the evening to very early morning hours this month. At the beginning of September Pluto sets around 12:30 am (PDT) and by the end, sets around 10:30 pm (PDT).

On September 15th, the waxing, gibbous Moon passes within 5°30’ of Pluto. Pluto and Moon

September 2009

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Autumnal Equinox

Autumn begins on September 22nd when the Autumnal Equinox occurs. The Autumnal Equinox occurs when the tilt of the Earth is in tangent with the orbit of Earth around the Sun.  This point marks the beginning of Autumn.  An Equinox has an equal amount of daylight and nighttime.

Lunar Events

The Full Moon for September occurs on the 4th.  The Full Moon is called the Full Fruit Moon and is also known as the Barley Moon.

The New Moon for September occurs on Friday, September 18th this will make the weekend of September 19-20 as the best weekend for deep sky observing.

Mercury

Mercury crosses from evening to morning hours this month.  Mercury is observable in the evening until around September 14th when it disappears into the glare of the Sun.  Mercury re-emerges into the evening around September 26th.  Mercury is in retrograde motion between September 7th through September 28th.

The above movie shows the path of Mercury during the month of September. Each frame is one sideal day. Note the retrograde motion as is moves past the Sun as it crosses from evening to morning hours.

Mercury begins September in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) and on September 22nd it crosses into the constellation Leo (The Lion) where it spend the rest of the month.

Venus

Venus is the Morning Star for September. Venus begins September in the constellation Cancer (The Crab) until September 10th went it moves into the constellation Leo (The Lion).

Mrcury, M44 September 1st finds Venus within 1°15’ for the Beehive Cluster (M44).
On September 16th, the waning, crescent Moon passes within 3°30’ of Venus. Mercury, Moon
Mercury, Regulus On September 20th, Venus passes with 0°30’ of the star Regulus.

Mars

Mars is observable in the morning hours of September in the constellation Gemini (The Twins) this month.  Mars rises around 1:20 am (PDT) at the beginning of September and by the end of the month rises around 12:45 am (PDT).

On September 13th, Mars rises within 3°34’ below the waning, crescent Moon with will pass within 1° of Mars on that day. Mars, Moon

Jupiter

Currently in retrograde motion, Jupiter is located in the constellation Capricornus (The Sea Goat) until January 2010.  Jupiter is observable in the evening and mid-night hours of September; setting around 4:55 am (PDT) at the beginning of the month and setting around 2:50 am (PDT) by the end of September.

Jupiter, Neptune and Moon On September 3rd, the waxing, gibbous Moon rises within 4°30’ of Jupiter and Neptune.
On September 30th, the waxing, gibbous Moon rises within 2°20’ of Jupiter and Neptune. Jupiter, Neptune and Moon

Saturn

Due to its position near the Sun, Saturn is not observable this month.  Saturn ends it long stay in the constellation Leo (The Lion) on September 2nd, when it will pass into the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) where it will remain until December 6th, 2012.

Uranus

September is the best month this year to observe Uranus as it reaches Opposition on September 17th. Uranus is visible all night, all month and is located in the constellation Pisces (The Fish).

Uruanus at Opposition
Uranus at Opposition on September 17th - The above images show the

relative position of the planet Uranus when it is at Opposition on
September 17th, relative to Jupiter, Neptune and the waning, gibbous
Moon.

On September 5th, Uranus rises within 5°15’ of the waning, gibbous Moon.

Neptune

Neptune is observable most of the night in September until the very early morning hours.  At the beginning of the month, Neptune sets around 5:20 am (PDT) and by the end of the month, Neptune sets around 3:25 am (PDT).  Neptune is moving in retrograde motion this month.

Jupiter, Neptune and Moon On September 3rd, the waxing, gibbous Moon rises within 4°30’ of Jupiter and Neptune.
On September 30th, the waxing, gibbous Moon rises within 2°20’ of Jupiter and Neptune. Jupiter, Neptune and Moon

Pluto

Pluto is observable until the late evening hours of September in the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer).  At the beginning of the month Pluto sets around 1:20am (PDT) and at the end of the month Pluto sets around 11:25 pm (PDT).

Pluto is moving in retrograde motion until September 12th.

Pluto
The relative position of pluto this month in the constellation Sagittarius.


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