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What's Up...
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...

The following tips on current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal
astro-experiences to look forward to.

Wed. Sept. 2 - This is Full Moon night, however it is not the Harvest Moon as it often is in September. The Harvest Moon was traditionally the full moon closest to the equinox, so this year it will occur on October 1. The next one, the Hunter's Moon, won't happen this year until October 31 when nimrods will join trick or treaters on the prowl.

Wed. Sept. 2 - For those interested in taking a fall look at the outer ice giant Neptune, the full Moon will pass less than the width of three fingers south of the tiny blue disk which will require a telescope to detect.

Sat. Sept. 5 - This fall's evening skies will be dominated by a conjunction of Mars. As a warm-up act, the ruddy planet will have a close meeting with the waning gibbous Moon tonight. The pair will rise late in the evening in the southeastern sky separated by only a little more than a moon-width.

Mon. Sept. 7  - Fall is a great time to catch ‘the Demon Star’ in one of its blinks. Algol will reach its minimum brightness in a two hour time period centered at 11.30pm tonight. Compare its brightness with neighbouring stars in Perseus in the north-northeast sky early in the evening and then check it out again around 11pm to see the decrease in brightness.

Wed. Sept. 9 - The Zodiacal Light is something that is most often mentioned in the spring months when the Sun illuminates dust particles in the equatorial plane of the solar system, producing a faint triangle of light extending into the western evening sky. The same applies to fall, however in this case the glow is seen in the pre-dawn eastern sky. The coming weeks will offer an opportunity for early risers to view and identify the fall Zodiacal light extending upward through the stars of Leo, Cancer and Gemini.

Thurs. Sept. 10 - This is Last Quarter Moon night with the perfectly divided Luna posing between the horns of Taurus in the pre-dawn sky.

Thurs. Sept.10 –  There will be another opportunity to see Algol do its slow blink tonight. This time ‘the Devil Star’, as it was known before it was revealed as an eclipsing binary star, will reach its minimum brightness in a two hour time period centered around 11.19pm tonight. By comparing its brightness with neighbouring stars in Perseus several hours before its minimum, its much dimmer appearance just after 11pm will be revealed.

Fri. Sept. 11 - With the earlier arrival of dusk and a dark sky period coming, those wishing some serious observing fun might consider the 'Milky Way Marathon'. In the same way that the maximum number of Messier objects can be seen in the course of a night in March, it is possible to see virtually all of the Milky Way that is visible from Canada during September. The idea is to begin in the evening with Sagittarius on the southern horizon, and work your way up the Milky Way through Scutum, Cygnus and overhead. As the night wears on, the perspective changes as the Perseus arm begins to swing overhead and more and more of the 'other side' of the Milky Way rises, culminating with the appearance of Taurus and Orion and the outside view of our galaxy during the pre-dawn hours. Our Okanagan Observatory with its excellent Milky Way dark sky view would be a perfect place for this all night campaign.

Mon. Sept. 14 - There will be a beautiful sight in store for early risers this morning. Just as dawn starts to brighten the eastern sky, the thin waning crescent Moon will rise in the company of Venus who is starring in her current role as the morning star.

Tues. Sept. 15 - Another reminder for those up in the pre-dawn hours about the Zodiacal Light which can be seen at its fall best at this time of year. The Sun-illuminated dust particles in the equatorial plane of the solar system manifests itself as a faint elongated triangle of light extending up into the pre-dawn eastern sky with a bit of a tilt to the right.

Thurs. Sept. 17 - This is New Moon night, the heart of the monthly dark moon period when Luna keeps out of the way, inviting deep sky observing and imaging.

Tues. Sept. 22  - Where did the time go? It seemed only weeks ago we observed the Summer Solstice with the Sun setting at its northernmost point on the horizon. Now, the second half of the current year is itself half over! The official moment of autumnal equinox will be early this morning at 6.31am.

Thurs. Sept. 24 - Encoring several similar performances over the summer, tonight the First Quarter Moon will join Jupiter and Saturn low in the southern sky, lined up east of Sagittarius' teapot handle.

Fri. Sept. 25 - Tonight Luna has moved into the midst of the gas giant planets, first passing south of bright Jupiter very early this morning and then below Saturn this evening.

Tues. Sept. 29 - For those who missed a chance to see Neptune on the 2nd, patient Luna will perform the same office tonight. The ice giant will be the width of three fingers to the north of the waxing gibbous disk.