Here is a quick look at what’s happening astronomically in September 2013. 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.
New Moon: September 5
First Quarter Moon: September 12
Closest to Earth: September 15 (228,286 miles super-size Moon)
Full Moon: September 19
Last Quarter Moon: September 26
Farthest from Earth: September 27 (251,225 miles)
Evening: Venus and Saturn low in south western horizon (after sunset)
Morning: Jupiter, Mars (eastern sky)
Mercury is lost in solar glare
Sun is at or near solar max, the maximum solar activity for roughly an eleven year cycle. The equinoxes provide the best chances, albeit slight, for aurora to be seen at lower latitudes. Solar activity and aurora predictions can be monitored at spaceweather.com.
September 16: Sun enters the astronomical constellation Virgo.
September 22: Sun enters the astrological sign Libra.
September 22: autumn equinox at 1:44pm MDT
No significant activity this month
All month Venus and Saturn are just above the western horizon just after sunset. Venus is moving toward Saturn and will pass Saturn on September 16. It is a great opportunity to observe planetary motion.
September 8: The crescent moon will be to the left of Venus just after sunset. Look west after sunset.
September 9: The crescent moon will be to the left of Saturn just after sunset. Look west after sunset.
September 14: Open House at Chamberlin Observatory. Look through a 118 year old world class telescope and other smaller telescopes. Event starts at dusk.
September 16: Saturn and Venus in conjunction, 3.5 degrees apart. Both will in the field of view of seven power binoculars. Look west after sunset
September 24: Mars passes in front of the beehive cluster M44. Look east before dawn. Use binoculars. Dark skies will improve the view.
September 27: Comet ISON will be two degrees above Mars. The comet will be too dim for binoculars and small telescopes. Mars is above and right or Regulus a somewhat bright star just above the eastern horizon in the pre-dawn sky. Above and right of Mars is a bright Jupiter. The Moon is above and right Jupiter.
September 23, 1877: Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier dies. Verrier was a French mathematician who predicted the existence of Neptune based on the irregularities of the orbit of Uranus. His calculations were used to discover Neptune within 1° of his predicted position.
September 12, 1962: President Kennedy gives his Moon speech, where he challenges the United States to land a man on the moon and bring him back safely by the end of the decade. The United States would meet this goal when Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the moon in July, 1969
Wishing you clear skies