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Astronomical events of interest for September 2014

Moon Mars Antares grouping Sept 29 2014
Moon Mars Antares grouping Sept 29 2014D. Tondreau

Here is a quick look at what’s happening astronomically in September 2014. Mark your calendars.

The month of September is derived from Latin meaning “seven”. It was the seven month of the Roman calendar until 46 BC when the beginning of the year was changed to from March to January.

Moon:

First Quarter Moon: September 2

Closest to Earth: September 7 (222,692 miles)

Full Moon: September 8 third and last Super Moon this (Harvest Moon)

Last Quarter Moon: September 15

Farthest from Earth: September 20 (252,180 miles)

New Moon: September 24

Planets Visible:

Early Evening: Mars and Saturn low in south western horizon (after sunset)

Pre-dawn: Jupiter and Venus in eastern horizon (sunrise glare starts to interfere at mid-month)

Mercury is lost in solar glare

Sun:

September 1: Sunrise 6:27am MDT, Sunset 7:32pm MDT

September 17: Sun enters the astronomical constellation Virgo.

September 22: Sun enters the astrological sign Libra.

September 30: Sunrise 6:54am MDT, Sunset 6:45pm MDT

Earth:

September 22: autumn equinox at 8:29pm MDT

Meteors:

No significant activity this month

Special Events:

September 5: Dawn between 5:40am and 6:00am MDT Venus will be very close to Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo. The pair will be just above the eastern horizon. The sunrise glare will be a problem after 6am. The pair does not rise above the horizon much before 5:40 am. Binoculars will help.

September 20: Look east at dawn a thin crescent moon will be below and right of Jupiter.

September 23-30: Early evening look on the southwestern horizon. Mars passes over the star Antares, a red super giant. Antares is called the rival of Mars because of its reddish tint. You can compare the color of the two. Mars will be the brighter of the two.

September 27: Look low on the western horizon 30 minutes after sunset. The Moon will be next to Saturn.

September 27: Colorado Astronomy Day

  • Members of the Denver Astronomical Society will be at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science with both white light (for sunspots) and H-alpha (for prominences) telescopes for safe solar viewing. Telescopes will be located at the west (park side) entrance from 10am to 4pm weather permitting. Museum entrance fees are not required.
  • Open House at Chamberlin Observatory. Look through a 120 year old world class telescope and other Denver Astronomical Society member telescopes. Event starts at dusk. There is a small fee to look through the Observatory’s telescope. All other activities are free.

September 29: Early evening the Moon, Mars and Antares will be grouped together in a near vertical line. The Moon is upper most, Mars in the middle and Antares at the bottom.

Historical Trivia:

September 1, 1979: Space probe Pioneer 11 makes the first flyby of Saturn

September 21, 2003: NASA probe Galileo impacts Jupiter after a long and successful mission.

Wishing you clear skies