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Tour of the Sky: September 2008

1 Sep 2008, 03:30 UTC
Tour of the Sky: September 2008
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Astronomy a Go Go! September Sky Tour

Astronomical Online

Download this month's sky map!
Northern hemisphere sky
mapSouthern hemisphere sky
map Creator: Kym Thalassoudis

Southern Hemisphere Additional Information
Barclay's siteRoyal Astronomical Society of New Zealand's Southern
Hemisphere Calendar RASNZ
Sky Watch.

Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune for Sept 08 (click for a larger
The Venus, Mars, Mecury Trio for lower latitudes, Sept 08
(click for a larger image)

Planets for September 2008
Southern and Equatorial viewers will have a splendid view of the Venus, Mars,
Mercury trio-triangle early in the month in Virgo SW of Porrima (Virgo's
southern shoulder). Best view of Mercury for the entire year. Those above 30 deg
North will struggle to pick out Venus and Mercury in the bright twilight evening

Mercury- In Virgo. Best viewed by those in the South until mid-month.
By early October Mercury will be in inferior conjunction and returning to the
morning sky. 0.0 mag (1st) to 0.5 mag (21st)
Venus- In Virgo. The brightest member of the Venus, Mars, and Mercury
trio look for outstanding conjunctions on the 11th and 12 as the goddess of love
pairs up with the god of war. Best for viewers south of 30 deg North -3.8 mag
(1st) to -3.8 mag (21st)
Mars- In Virgo. In addition to the groupings and conjunctions listed
above, from the 15th-20th Spica joins the group for a lovely traveling quartet
1.7 (1st) to 1.7 mag (21st)
Jupiter- In Sagittarius. Starts the month in retrograde (westward)
motion becoming stationary on the 8th and returns to proper motion. The best
planet show for the northern hemisphere -2.5 mag (1st) to -2.4 mag (21st)
Saturn- In Leo. Starts the month in conjunction with the Sun but by
month's end early rising viewers will find it rising in the East about two hours
before the Sun. Look for Regulus and find Saturn just under 15 deg East. After
about 4 months without Saturn make sure you look at the rings and see how much
they have 'closed' or moved parallel to our perspective. On the 26th look for a
sliver of a waning crescent Moon near Regulus. 0.8 mag (1st) to 0.9 mag (21st)

Uranus-In Aquarius all year. Use the finder charts above to help you
find Uranus, it is only a little smaller, optically, than Mars looks now. 5.7
mag (1st) to 5.7 mag (21st)
Neptune-In Capricorn 7.8 mag (1st) to 7.8 mag (21st) Finder
Charts for Neptune and Uranus -Northern
Hemisphere, Southern

Key Dates for September 2008
Days and Times in UT: (help with
time)Observations are for 9 pm for the mid-southern latitudes and for 9
pm for the mid-northern latitudes. Today's sunrise and sunset times or
plan ahead using the US Naval Observatory

Occultation information can be found at the IOTA website!

Astronomical Highlights - September 2008

- Algol (Beta Persei) at min (8:37)

- Venus, Mercury and Mars grouped in a triangle 5 deg from the waxing
crescent Moon

- Double Shadow Transit on Jupiter (18:40)

- Saturn in conjunction with the sun - passes into the morning sky

- Moon to the SW of Antares, the bright red star in Scorpio. Very low on the
horizon for Northern viewers.

- Algol at min (2:14) - thus sets the pattern for the month (2.867315

- Antares 0.3 deg N or Moon (3:00), possible occultation, check the IOTA website for
occultation information for your area.

- First Quarter Moon (14:04) Moon at apogee furtherest point from the Earth
(404214 km)

- Double Shadow Transit on Jupiter (0:12) Jupiter stationary

- Pluto stationary, Jupiter 3 deg N of Moon

- Mercury greatest elongation E (27deg), Venus and Mars .3 deg apart (naked
eye they will look almost fused)

- Neptune 0.8 deg S of Moon, possible occultation, check the IOTA website for
occultation information for your area.

- Uranus at opposition - visible (if you know where to look) with the naked
eye at 5.7 mag in DARK skies. Use the finder charts in the section above to find
the very faint blue-green diskie star.

- Full Moon (9:13)

- Moon at perigee, closest to Earth (368886 km)

- Moon 1 deg N of Pleiades (M45)

- September Equinox!! (15:45) The Sun crosses the celestial equator and
heads south. Autumnal in the NH and Vernal in the SH

- Last Quarter Moon (5:04)

- Mercury Stationary

- Zodiacal Lights visible in Northern Latitudes in East before morning
twilight for the next two weeks.

- Saturn 5 deg N of waning crescent Moon

- Delta Aurigid

- New Moon (8:12)

Date information courtesy of: RASC Observer's Handbook, Skymaps.com,
Astronomical Calendar 2008, CalSky.

*The time when the Sun reaches the point along the ecliptic where it crosses
into the southern celestial hemisphere marking the start of Autumn in the
Northern Hemisphere and Spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

sunrise and sunset times
for your home*Comparative lengths of
day and night
Monthly Messier*
This month our monthly Messier hits some big easy targets, eight more
globular clusters, all are possible in binoculars, and two of these are the
finest globulars which can be seen from northern locations.

Sagittarius is the home of many globular clusters which surround the center
of the Milky Way Galaxy. Seven of the these globulars appear in the Messier
catalog, we will be visiting five of them this month. When you complete the
search for these objects be sure to spend some time scanning this region with
binoculars or a telescope and see what other sights you can discover. I
guarantee you will not be disappointed.

M13 - The great
globular cluster in Hercules is bright enough to be seen with naked eye and
typically the first GC found by amateur astronomers in the NH. Binoculars easily
show this cluster as a bright fuzzy ball. M13 is partially resolvable in small
aperture telescopes and becomes a fantastic swarm of tightly packed individual
stars through large scopes.

M92 - Another globular
cluster in Hercules, M92 is easy to find in binoculars appearing slightly dimmer
and smaller than M13. As with M13 it is partially resolvable in small scopes and
is a fine sight in large instruments.

M14 - A small, bright
globular cluster in Ophiuchus. It is a difficult binocular object, look for a
small fuzzy patch of light. Through a telescope M14 is an even patch of light,
the stars not resolvable except through large scopes.

M22 - This is the other
great globular in our tour this month. Located just above the teapot asterism in
Sagittarius, M22 can be seen with no optical aid. M22 is easy to find in
binoculars, and easy to resolve in telescopes, with about the same
impressiveness as M13.

M28 - Located near M22
in Sagittarius, this is a small bright globular. A tough binocular object, look
for a small fuzzy patch. Easily seen in a telescope, but requires large aperture
to resolve individual stars.

M69, M70, M54 All of these are small
bright globular clusters laying along the bottom of the teapot in Sagittarius.
Very similar in appearance to M28, these are all tough binocular objects
requiring dark skies and possibly averted vision to see. M54 is slightly
brighter and appears more star like through binoculars than the other globulars.
These are all easily seen in telescopes, though not easily resolvable.

From the Astronomical
Connection and the Moncton Center in Canada

Comets for September 2008

Gary Kronk's comet and
meteor pagesSkyhound
Comet pages
Historical and Current Events...Did you know?
Mark has developed his own website
so let's all trot on over and see the pages of wonderful history he has for us
this month!

Help us out by leaving a donation in the ol' PayPal hator write us a
favorable review in iTunes of Podcast Pickle or iPodder!

Music Scottish Guitar
Quartet -"Romance within you"Mathew Ebel- "Trees" and
"Drive Away"

Astronomical Highlights for 2008

Earth's major motions for 2008


Jan 3 00h(UT)

First Cross Quarter Day

Feb 2-6


Mar 20 05:48(UT)

Second Cross Quarter Day

May 4-7


June 20 23:59(UT)


July 4 08h (UT)

Third Cross Quarter Day

Aug 5-8


Sept 22 15:44(UT)

Fourth Cross Quarter Day

Nov 5-8


Dec 21 12:04(UT)

Planet Positions for 2008







Interesting Planet Pairing for 2008

January (first two week) - Mars, Betelgeuse and Aldebaran -
Mars will be moving westward into this red triangle, pausing at the end of the
month and then returning to regular Eastward motion at the beginning of

February 1 (start watching in early January) - Jupiter and
Venus - Start this early in January with Jupiter just off the horizon and
watch as they creep closer and closer. On the 1st of Feb early in the morning,
about one hour before sunrise in the east, Jupiter and Venus are less than one
degree apart in the constellation Sagittarius. They will be outstanding and you
could imagine all sorts of symbolism that could be associated with this

February 27 - Mercury and Venus - Rising just one hour before
the Sun in the East in the constellation Capricornus. Venus and Mercury will be
just over one degree apart and then Venus will speed off, with Mercury in hot

March 24 - Mercury and Venus...again - Mercury catches up to
Venus again, this time less than one degree apart and in the constellation
Aquarius. They will also be rising above the horizon only a half hour before the
sun, so seeing them will be quite a challenge.

July 10 - Mars and Saturn - In the constellation Leo
yellowish-white Saturn and reddish Mars will be less than one degree from each
other. The pair is still up two hours after sunset and are bright so it should
be easy to see.

August 13 - Venus and Saturn - Less than one degree apart in
the constellation Leo. Venus will be the brighter of the two.

August 14 (watch from 10-16th)- Venus, Mercury, and Saturn -
Just after sunset a triple conjunction! The three planets will be less than
three degrees apart in the constellation Leo and almost in a line. Venus will be
the highest and brightest Saturn the middle object and Mercury will be the
lowest of the three but surprisingly brighter than Saturn. If you want to make
this even more interesting look for Mars 16 degrees to the SW the trio.

August 19-21 - Venus and Mercury - The two planets will be
about one degree apart for three days. VERY low on the western horizon at

September 11 (watch from 5-18)- Venus and Mars - Venus will
come right next to the Red Planet, with the two less than one degree apart
Mercury lying three and a half degrees away from the pair and shining brighter
than Mars. The whole group will set just one hour after sunset.

December 1 - Venus and Jupiter - All within Sagittarius, the
two planets will be two degrees apart and they don't set until three hours after
sunset. As a bonus, a 15%-lit moon will lie three degrees away from Venus.

December 31 - Jupiter and Mercury - After sunset a little more
than one degree apart in Sagittarius. Pull out the binos and telescopes because
Mercury will be a mere 15 arcminutes from the globular cluster M75. All three
will be together in one field of view in most home binoculars.

2008 Phases of the Moon

Universal Time NEW MOON FIRST QUARTER FULL MOON LAST QUARTER d h m d h m d h m d h m JAN. 8 11 37 JAN. 15 19 46 JAN. 22 13 35 JAN. 30 5 03FEB. 7 3 44 FEB. 14 3 33 FEB. 21 3 30 FEB. 29 2 18MAR. 7 17 14 MAR. 14 10 46 MAR. 21 18 40 MAR. 29 21 47APR. 6 3 55 APR. 12 18 32 APR. 20 10 25 APR. 28 14 12MAY 5 12 18 MAY 12 3 47 MAY 20 2 11 MAY 28 2 57JUNE 3 19 23 JUNE 10 15 04 JUNE 18 17 30 JUNE 26 12 10JULY 3 2 19 JULY 10 4 35 JULY 18 7 59 JULY 25 18 42AUG. 1 10 13 AUG. 8 20 20 AUG. 16 21 16 AUG. 23 23 50AUG. 30 19 58 SEPT. 7 14 04 SEPT. 15 9 13 SEPT. 22 5 04 SEPT. 29 8 12 OCT. 7 9 04 OCT. 14 20 02 OCT. 21 11 55OCT. 28 23 14 NOV. 6 4 03 NOV. 13 6 17 NOV. 19 21 31NOV. 27 16 55 DEC. 5 21 26 DEC. 12 16 37 DEC. 19 10 29DEC. 27 12 22

Eclipses for 2008


2008 February
07[ Solar: Annular ]
2008 February
21[ Lunar: Total ]
2008 August
01[ Solar: Total ]
2008 August
16[ Lunar: Partial


February 07 - Annular Solar Eclipse ( see
map, times, and animation!): The first
solar eclipse of 2008 occurs at the Moon's ascending node in Capricornus. An
annular eclipse will be visible from a wide track, that traverses Antarctica and
southern regions of the Pacific Ocean. A partial eclipse will be seen within the
much larger path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes the southeastern
third of Australia, all of New Zealand and most of Antarctica.

August 1 - Total Solar Eclipse ( see
map, times, and animation!): On Friday,
2008 August 01, a total eclipse of the Sun is visible from within a narrow
corridor that traverses half the Earth. The path of the Moon's umbral shadow
begins in Canada and extends across northern Greenland, the Arctic, central
Russia, Mongolia, and China. A partial eclipse is seen within the much broader
path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes northeastern North America,
most of Europe and Asia. Special website with extra information and links to
live eclipse webcasts can be found at the NASA
Eclipse Website for the August 1st Eclipse

February 20th - Total Lunar Eclipse ( see
map, times.): The first lunar eclipse of 2008 is perfectly placed for
observers throughout most of the Americas as well as western Europe. The eclipse
occurs at the Moon's descending node, midway between perigee and apogee. During
the eclipse, Saturn lies about 3Â northeast of the Moon and shines brightly (mv
= +0.2) because it is near opposition. Special website with live broadcast can
be found at the NASA
Eclipse Website

August 16 - Partial Lunar Eclipse ( see
map, times): The last eclipse of 2008 is a partial lunar eclipse at the
Moon's ascending node in Capricornus. It is visible primarily from the Eastern
Hemisphere as well as eastern South America

Eclipse information from: NASA Eclipse
Homepage, Eclipses Online (HM
Nautical Almanac Office, UK in coordination with the U.S. Naval

Meteor Showers for 2008All times are UT


Date of PeakTime in UT (help with time)
Moon Phase

January 4, 7h
Waning Crescent

April 22, 4h
almost Full

Eta Aquarids
May 5, 18h
New Moon

August 12, 11h
Waxing Gibbous

October 21, 4h
Last Quarter

November 17, 10h
Waning Gibbous

December 13, 23h
Full Moon

Information from the "Observer's Handbook 2008" RASC

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