SEPTEMBER 2, 1996: Jupiter in Sagittarius
- Just after dark, look due south to see Jupiter low to the horizon. It will look like
a bright star, shining with a steady light. It is currently in the constellation of
Sagittarius, the Archer. The star pattern looks more like a "teapot" than a centaur
drawing back his arrow. If the night is exceptionally clear, rural observers should
notice the diffuse glow of the summer Milky Way to the right of Jupiter. The center
of our galaxy lies just to the right of the Archer.
SEPTEMBER 9, 1996: Saturn and Fomalhaut
- Look east about 10 p.m. to locate Saturn in the lower third of the sky. It
should look slightly yellowish, and not overly bright. By 2 a.m. earthís
rotation carries the ringed planet due south. Below and to the right of Saturn
is the solitary bright star, Fomalhaut of Piscis Austrinus, the Southern Fish.
Saturn should appear slightly brighter. By dawn, 4:00 a.m., Saturn shines in
the southwest while Fomalhaut sets.
SEPTEMBER 16, 1996: Rising/Setting Positions of Sun Changing
- The change in the amount of daylight is especially apparent during the
Autumnal and Vernal Equinox periods. If you can see where the sun rises or
sets, mentally mark this position on the horizon and watch how rapidly the
position will change during the next few weeks. Early civilizations created
calendars by observing the sunís motion along the horizon. The moon begins
the week as a thin crescent in the west. When it is full on Thursday,
September 26th, there will be a total lunar eclipse.
SEPTEMBER 23, 1996: Total Lunar Eclipse
- Prepare for the "Harvest Moon" total lunar eclipse on Thursday, the 26th.
The full moon begins to enter the earthís shadow at 9:12 p.m. Totality commences
at 10:19 and lasts for 70 minutes. The eclipse is over at 12:36 a.m. on the 27th.
There is no danger to the eyes when observing a lunar eclipse. The use of
binoculars will enhance subtle color variations and make the event much more
enjoyable to watch. The bright object below the moon during the eclipse will
be the planet Saturn. See if you can observe that the moon is not quite full
on Friday evening.
SEPTEMBER 30, 1996: Venus Passes Regulus
- Venus is a splendid object low in the predawn, eastern sky about 5:30 a.m.
The bright star, which Venus approaches and passes on Thursday the 3rd, will be
Regulus in the constellation of Leo, the Lion. Above Venus and slightly to the
right, a reddish looking planet should be easily seen. Thatís Mars. By
Saturday morning, Venus, Mars, and the moon are like widely separated pearls
in the southeastern sky.