Podcaster: Rob Webb
Organization: Physics teacher at Pequea Valley High School
Description: Looking for Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, or Mars? This is your last good month to see all of them at the same time. Also, get ready for some longer nights, the astronomical start of Fall, and a shallow dive into Sagittarius, the Summer Triangle, and Cassiopeia.
Bio: Rob Webb is a physics, astronomy, and sustainability teacher at Pequea Valley High School in Pennsylvania. His passions include teaching, astronomy, astrophotography, planetariums, running, reading, and golf. A proud graduate of Dickinson College in 2005, he also obtained a Master’s Degree in Science Education from Penn State University after conducting research in regards to the current state of planetariums in Pennsylvania. Feel free to contact him at email@example.com
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Looking for Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, or Mars? This is your last good month to see all of them at the same time. Also, get ready for some longer nights, the astronomical start of Fall, and a shallow dive into Sagittarius, the Summer Triangle, and Cassiopeia.
Last Quarter Moon – 2nd (Visible from midnight into the morning)
New Moon – 9th (darkest skies)
12th – Close Encounter – Moon, Venus – If you have a clear view of the horizon in the West, you can catch a thin crescent Moon 10˚ above Venus.
13th – Close Encounter – Moon, Jupiter – Find the Moon around sunset and you’ll also find Jupiter about 5˚ below and to the left, with dimmer Zubenelgenubi (Libra’s brightest star), directly below the Moon.
15th – Close Encounter – Saturn, Moon, Jupiter, Antares – Find the Moon and you’ll see Saturn off to the left about 20˚, Jupiter to the right about the same distance, and Scorpio’s brightest star Antares below the Moon.
First Quarter Moon – 16th (Visible until midnight)
17th – Close Encounter – Moon, Saturn – Find the Moon after sunset and you’ll also find Saturn only 4˚ to the right. A great chance to see two really bright objects right near each other, with the teapot of Sagittarius right below.
19th – Close Encounter – Moon, Mars – Looking for Mars? If you’re out on the 19th, find the Moon and then look about 3 finger-widths below for the red dot that is Mars. It’ll now be getting smaller and dimmer as the months pass by.
22nd – Fall Equinox – When all locations on Earth experience a day of almost exactly 12 hours and a night of almost exactly 12 hours. It is the astronomical first day of fall, even though meteorologically it typically starts in the beginning of September.
Full Moon – 24th (Visible all night)
(see sky map link at the bottom for a Star Map for this month)
Sagittarius – Use binoculars (or even a telescope) and a star chart to scan through the southern constellation of Sagittarius. Currently the home constellation of Saturn. There are at least 7 easily visible clusters and nebulas up and to the right of the “teapot” of Sagittarius.
The Summer Triangle: Lyra, Cygnus, Aquila, Delphinus – Look straight up before 10pm and you’ll be able to see Lyra (the Harp), Cygnus (the Swan), Aquila (the Eagle), (and Delphinus the Dolphin.) These three constellations have the three brightest stars of the summer constellations (Vega, Deneb, Altair – respectively.) Those bright stars create the summer triangle. Off to the east of this is the small but beautiful constellation of Delphinus. If you’re under dark skies (away from city lights) you may just catch a glimpse of the Milky Way passing through Cygnus and Aquila. If you’re looking past 10pm, they’ll be moving toward the West and lower in the sky.
Cassiopeia – Just a few degrees below the zenith, in the North, is the Queen. Just look North and tilt your head almost all the way up, and you’ll see the 5 bright stars that form an M or upside down W in the sky, depending on what font you normally use. The angle on the left will be ALMOST a right angle, with the one on the right being obtuse.
Use a sky map from www.skymaps.com to help you out.
End of podcast:
365 Days of Astronomy
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