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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Today’s sponsor: This episode of “365 Days of Astronomy” is sponsored by — no one. We still need sponsors for many days in 2017, so please consider sponsoring a day or two. Just click on the “Donate” button on the lower left side of this webpage, or contact us at email@example.com.
Or please visit our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/365DaysOfAstronomy
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.
- Around Sunset – Venus (WSW), Jupiter (SW), Saturn (S), Mars (SSE)
- Throughout the night – Saturn (SW), Mars (SEàSW)
- Morning – None
- Get your binoculars out the first week of September around 5:30am – 6am to look east in search of Mercury.
- Venus enters the final phase of its half-year-or-so long appearance this month. Look West and find the brightest source of light in that direction, about a fist-width above the horizon. If you have a telescope, you can watch Venus go from half phase to a beautiful big crescent.
- Mars is already in the SSE around sunset, left of Sagittarius, traveling toward the SW and setting around 2am.
- Up in the SW around sunset, hanging out in Libra, setting right around 9pm in the WSW.
- Already up around sunset. Look about 25˚ above the S horizon in evening or low in the SW before midnight, at the top of Sagittarius. Rings are close to maximum tilt.
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
The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is produced by Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Audio post-production by Richard Drumm. Bandwidth donated by libsyn.com and wizzard media. You may reproduce and distribute this audio for non-commercial purposes. Please consider supporting the podcast with a few dollars (or Euros!). Visit us on the web at 365DaysOfAstronomy.org or email us at info@365DaysOfAstronomy.org. This year we will celebrates the Year of Everyday Astronomers as we embrace Amateur Astronomer contributions and the importance of citizen science. Join us and share your story. Until tomorrow! Goodbye!