by Zach Singer
Western Veil Nebula, copyright Alan Erickson, June 2009
On the “to-see” list for this month, we have a total lunar eclipse, a relatively easy-to-find example of a rare carbon star, two different sets of binary stars, a well-known and brilliant open cluster, and an equally well-known supernova remnant, as well as some notes on other happenings in the solar system.
The big headline, of course, is the total lunar eclipse on the evening of Sunday, September 27th; the first subtle (penumbral) darkening begins at 6:12 p.m. For full details of the eclipse’s timing, as well as the Denver astronomical Society’s public eclipse viewing event at Chamberlin Observatory, please see “2015 Lunar Eclipse!”
Next to an eclipse, the motions of the planets might seem anticlimactic, but there are still sights to be seen. Among the first is Venus as a very thin, bright crescent, large in a telescope at dawn as September begins. Look for the (-4.4)-magnitude planet about 14° above the eastern horizon at 6:00 a.m.; it should be easy to spot in the pre-dawn sky. By month’s end, Venus will have “fattened up” to a lemon-wedge appearance, and will be nearly 30° above the horizon in ...