Podcaster: Shane and Chris
Title: Objects to Observe in the September 2022 Night Sky
Organization: Actual Astronomy
Description: The Actual Astronomy Podcast presents Objects to Observe in the September 2022 Night Sky and places a focus on how to get started stargazing and the happenings overhead. This month we have several pairings between the Moon and Planets and we also talk about when and how to observe the Curtis X as well as what asteroid we are on the lookout for this month.
Bio: Shane and Chris are amateur astronomers who enjoy teaching astronomy classes and performing outreach where they help the eyes of the public to telescope eyepieces.
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Welcome to Episode 253 of the actual astronomy podcast. This is a slightly shorter episode on the objects to observe, and this one will be for the September, 2022 night sky.
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I am Chris and joining me Shane we’re an amateur astronomers should love looking at the night sky, and this podcast is for anybody else. That looks going out under the stars so maybe we should just share a little bit of astronomy info before we get going
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Jamie for people who are just getting interested in astronomy with sort of like some general advice we can throw to people will probably one of the most important things is you need you need like a chart of some kind, so that you know what to look for
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and how to find it.
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You know as you get more experience in astronomy you’ll start to remember where some of these objects are but certainly chart star charts are a very important part of that and we always talk about sky maps.
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You can go there and we really recommend you print off this this chart and to not use a phone or tablet. And the reason for that is a phone or tablet will have light that is just too bright usually, even if you turn it to read and even if you haven’t
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done the brightness it’s usually just a little too bright. Yeah, so use paper and then use a red flashlight with hopefully a, like a dimmable red flashlight if you can find one and there’s many inexpensive astronomy flashlights that do that in fact that
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the one that I use is from sky watcher and it just has like a wheel. That’s a potential amateur that dims it to pretty much like, you know, all the way to no light at all.
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And then the red flashlight just helps preserve your night vision and still allows you to see your chart in the field when you’re at the telescope.
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Yeah, I, I’ve got some of those sky watcher read flashlights as well.
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A great way to get those is if you go to a star party usually.
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And one of the vendor booths, they’ll have a bucket of broken ones.
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And you can just sort of by two or three of them for five or $6, and then kind of mix and match parts to sort of make your own or make other red LED type devices so I’ve got a few of those.
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Because I often lose them, or, or Mike steals them.
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And I’m just kidding. And the other part is that I’ve got a really good one from Rachel systems, and the custom making one if you want and so I had them make one that’s red, and an orange on the other side so instead of being read on one side and white
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on the other. I have one that’s red on one side and orange on the other, other the orange part is kind of flaky communion right them to see if there’s a way I can fix that angle like just like a loose sod or something like that.
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Anyhow, so what else yeah so you mentioned, not using tablets or iPhones because, because that is problematic because you look at the bright screens, and then you go to look at the dark sky and your, your visions all washed out even, even if you did those
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down, and we’re really helping somebody once that had had some software trouble.
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We’re at a star party and they wanted to make sure that their software was working properly. And, yeah, it just wasn’t great having having that like kind of annoying.
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Let’s see so good book, good book that I think we we frequently recommend is Night Watch as all the star church you need to get going. I think so, Yeah.
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Night Watch is a wonderful book.
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It provides maps of pretty much all of the major northern constellations. Are you can’t remember if there’s any Southern ones in there, but it it locates or it shows the location of all of the kind of prominent objects within those constellations most
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of them I think are messy objects but there’s a few others in there. And that book alone will keep you quite occupied for a long time.
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But if you want something a little more advanced with more objects more detail. Another one that we like to recommend is sky and telescopes pocket sky Atlas, which has a ton of stuff in there and that was fairly inexpensive to I think it’s around 20 Canadian
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Canadian dollars. And really, if you just wanted to buy one that will last you a lifetime, it’s that one, you know there’s there’s enough objects in there that you will certainly not run out probably at any point in your life.
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So, How about some basic sky measurements.
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Yeah. So on your way around the night sky and go ahead. Yeah, we often refer to things in the night sky in terms of degrees or sometimes arc minutes and arcseconds but we’ll just talk about degrees for now.
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So, one, one measurement is your fist so if you hold your arm out straight and make a fist with your hand.
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The width of your fist is 10 degrees approximately, and it doesn’t matter if you’re tall, short, long arms, you know, short arms doesn’t really matter.
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This is just sort of like a ratio thing that just works for just about everybody so that’s a good one.
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And you’ll hear us talk a little bit about degrees. Throughout this episode. Yeah.
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One of the things that you can try out for yourself is the overhead, with a point directly overhead no matter where you are, whether you’re at the North Pole the equator, some point in between which is likely the spot overhead, the direct spot directly
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overhead, we call that the zenith.
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So for example here right now passing to the zenith is the star denim.
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But if you went down to the equator denna would be partway between your horizon.
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I don’t know like 40 degrees up or something like that.
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And from down there perhaps maybe like a star like, Oh shoot, I don’t know, something in something and maybe let’s see like screwed on or something like that maybe that would be directly overhead right.
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Mm hmm. Yep.
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And if you take your fist, then you would count nine fists from the horizon to the overhead point of Xena so that that’s how it works. People can play around with that if they like.
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And so when we talk about a degree, say something to the degree, you know, it’s basically one 10th of your fist and also the moon covers half a degree of the sky.
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So that kind of gives you a good indication of the type of size that they were looking at a lot of time people might think that the moon is a much larger right like you said how big with the moon be compared to your fist some people might just think about
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that really quick and say oh I’ll be 10 times the size you best but it’s but it’s not it’s just one 10th the size of your fist. And you have to hold it up like that.
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Yeah, yeah, no, it’s a good. It’s a good reference to navigate your way around the sky.
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All right, let’s talk about the September night sky in our little bit of abbreviated episode.
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Just so people know someone has appeared to railing.
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The last part of the railing on my deck so I don’t belong in the middle of the night when I’m out there observing. So you’ve made your meeting or some drilling and cutting here in a moment.
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September 3 we have a first quarter moon, as we as we enter the beginning part of September will be faced with the moon back in our Skype but that feels pretty good right now because right now record this that’s about two weeks away that’s two weeks away
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away from today and I think, and all the count that means we’ve got about two good weeks of astronomy here Shane I’m pretty excited about that. Yeah, I can’t wait so I’m on vacation this upcoming week so I’m going to be out as often as I can, if the conditions
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allow. Yeah, it’s stuff. September 7 Gino is that opposition. It’s going to be at 7.9 magnitude. So that’s well within the range of binoculars. And, you know, that’s the third.
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Let’s see that’s the third asteroid that was discovered is found on September 1, a beat you know for by the German astronomer Carl hurting.
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He spotted up at Schroeder’s lilium fail observatory so Shane. Have you ever heard of the Lillian fail observatory. I have not.
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All right. And so, that is just one sec.
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Sorry about that. No worries. Sorry, do you mind doing an editor.
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Yeah, yeah, I’ll cut that out. Yeah, sorry. All right. So, have you ever heard of Sharon, Sharon Schroeder’s Lillian fail observatory Shane. No, I have not.
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So because I was thinking that.
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Huh, what did hurting us to discover and the asteroid Juno, and I tried looking him up, and it wasn’t it wasn’t available. So I was like, Well, what observatory was he at, because then you would just, you know, be able to answer that question so you’ll
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hand her own ms Schroeder 1745 to 1860 built an impressive observatory which had a huge 20 inch reflecting telescope, and it was the best equipment, the best equipped observatory on the continent.
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And then it was only surpassed by William Herschel’s telescope sometime later.
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So, yeah, it’s just, yeah they had a pretty big telescope actually he used to do his astronomy with, and when we think of people making those discoveries back in, you know, piece the 1800s.
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I didn’t expect to see that this guy was using a 20 inch telescope so that was pretty cool. Wow. Yeah, 20 inches. That’s, that’s a whole lot of telescope.
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Yeah. So do you know, is one of the largest asteroids is put the 10th largest asteroid. It’s one of the stony or s type asteroids, and they estimate that it contains about 1%.
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of the total mass of the asteroid belt.
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Yeah, that’s, that’s a lot.
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So people want to hunt this down, what would be a good way for them to try to find it, how would, how would someone go about trying to find it and maybe confirming that they’ve seen shame.
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Well, first thing is finding the the proper star chart so this is where the sky maps.com can probably be better than the pocket sky Atlas because it is dynamic, and it can show you things like we’re an asteroid might be on a particular date, so you really
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need an accurate chart.
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Then what you do is you navigate to where you think it is based upon the star field, and probably the best way to confirm whether or not you’re observing this asteroid is to sketch that star field, but you know point towards where you think the asteroid
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is. and then you come back a couple hours later, or even the next night and see if it’s moved against the background stars. If it has moved, you’ve observed it if it hasn’t moved.
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Well then it was probably just a star, because probably the key thing to note about observing asteroids is they will look stellar, meaning they will look like a star.
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So, there they are a little hard to distinguish sometimes, you know, to determine whether or not you’ve actually observed it.
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Yeah. And you won’t need a 20 inch telescope to see this 1.9 base the eighth magnitude. I think a good pair of little binoculars, and that should suffice people should just be able to use that, don’t you think yeah for sure and certainly any backyard
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you know, because most backyard telescopes will be 60 millimeters in aperture or larger will easily show that. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So, I feel like that’s one of those things that that maybe people might not have thought of to go looking for especially
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if they’re just getting started but finding and confirming asteroids and minor planets, is actually fairly easy, but quite rewarding to do because you know it’s kind of neat to, to think about the fact that you handed down.
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One of these objects that spanned a couple hundred years ago. Yeah, absolutely. Alright, this month of September 2022. The moon is going to pair up with a whole pile of the planets have you got that when you saw my notes but there’s a lot of parents here
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coming up. Yeah, yeah it’s it’s a great month for planetary observing because it’ll be easy to find a number of these planets just as good anchors that we often talk about.
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Yeah, and Saturn, which is just past opposition now. And in fact, still less than a month past opposition on the eighth of September. Saturn is going to be just four degrees north of moons.
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So what we try to do is give people an indication of where the moon is in relation to a planet. We know that four degrees is just under about half of your fist at arm’s length like we talked about at the start of the episode, so you know that’s actually
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pretty close to the nighttime sky there a pair of binoculars and pointing at the moon on the night of the eighth Saturn’s going to be the brightest stars for that’s still in the same field of view as the binoculars.
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Yeah, exactly. And when you know if you have a wider field view telescope.
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You know if you can get the five degrees ish.
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You know, feel the view to see the moon and Saturn all at the same time, would be quite striking.
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Yeah, that’s right because you’ll be able to see the rings of Saturn and craters on the moon and stuff like that yeah that’s that’s pretty wild so cool.
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All right, on the 10th.
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We have the full moon and on that night. The full moon and Neptune are gonna be really close together in fact just three degrees apart.
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Neptune is going to be three degrees north of the moon and Neptune is is just, I think about 7.8 or 7.7 magnitude at this time because it’s just a bit about position and.
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And so that is a really good opportunity to hunt down Neptune so Neptune can be can be difficult to hunt down because it kind of just looks like a star too doesn’t it.
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Yeah, it does. If you have larger apertures.
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It might start to take on a little bit of a disc shape and you sometimes can tease out the color on Neptune as well the blue sometimes will come through with with bigger telescopes.
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Yeah, exactly. So I think, to my anyway it’s been a few years since I really did this with a larger telescope I typically try to hunt it down every year.
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But yeah, 10 inch telescope seem to be for me anyway the minimum aperture to start to see any of that color so.
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Okay, on the 11th observers that aren’t seen an AI and machine has a vacation is and told me about will have the opportunity to see Jupiter really close to the moon.
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I think we’re actually in the worst spot in some areas of the world, it’s going to get less than two degrees away. Jupiter will be 1.8 degrees north of the moon on the 11th, but for us here in Saskatchewan Shane.
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I think it’s six degrees.
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Yeah, it’s a it’s a pretty big difference there. Unfortunately for us but still six degrees. Not too bad, should be able to kind of see that Jupiter is the brightest thing.
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Next to the moon, and one of the advantages is that Jupiter is so bright. You can even see it from a city is that, hey, you’ll be able to not even have to use your binoculars or a telescope to see it.
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And from here anyway.
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The moon is very bright and contend to watch out things that are nearby but I think because Jupiter is so bright should be able to see them well place together in the, in the evening sky on the 11th of September.
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Yeah, that’s awesome.
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Then, on the 14th, it’s like, almost every night, there’s something there for about two weeks, Uranus is going to be less than a degree, south of the moon, and again Uranus.
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although it’s almost 692 to, it’s pretty difficult to see with your eye binoculars are a must. And, again, kind of looks like a star, you have a bigger telescope, you might see some Aquamarine color but it can be kind of a just a challenge to pick it
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out from the star field, but on the night of the 14th Uranus being less than a degree away from the moon, moon helps you point that out you point your binoculars at the moon and boom, the bright six magnitude star read beside the moon, that’s Uranus.
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Yeah. Again, another cool opportunity to see a planet that can sometimes be a little challenging to find depending where it is so with it so close to the moon.
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Yeah you know you’re, you have a really good opportunity there and when I used to have an eight inch Newtonian.
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I could tease out some of the color both in Neptune and Uranus, and, you know, maybe that I don’t have that telescope anymore unfortunately but you know again if you do have a larger telescope.
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it’s well worth taking some time to observe this.
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Yeah. On the 16th Neptune is going to be at opposition so like we were talking about there. Just a few nights before.
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On the 10th, the moon and Neptune are going to be only three degrees apart.
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So that means that Neptune is going to be at its brightest largest point is seen from Earth. So, what opposition means is that Neptune is going to be opposite the sun in the sky, as seen from Earth.
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So that means that it’s getting, You know it’s at a good point of illumination, just due to the geometry. And then it’s going to appear.
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You know well well placed next to the moon there. On the night of the 10th so recommend people trying to head down, you know, a lot of these sort of what’s up sort of things they don’t put Uranus and Neptune in but my experience like teaching classes
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to beginning stargazers or just folks in general. I’ve had a lot of people take the class, and they have some, sometimes they have very basic telescopes but the one thing they want it to do was to hunt down all the, sort of, you know the planets in the
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solar system and some of the minor planets, and I’ve seen people just go to like Canadian Tire which is, you know, like a small department store and get like a really inexpensive like 70 millimeter telescope and come to the class and get some advice and
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then go out and kind of down the planets and minor planets. During the course of the semester so yeah it’s it’s really cool to see that play out.
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Yeah, for sure.
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Last quarter moon is on the 17th and Mars is going to be four degrees so with that the moon on that night.
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Yeah, We’re starting to get to that point now where Mars is visible a little earlier in the night and we’ve been saying this for a few months now but this is the opposition year for Mars I believe opposition is in December sometime.
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Yeah, so it’s really cool to start observing Mars now and just watch it grow in size as it gets closer and closer to Earth. And the other thing that’s kind of neat is if you spend a lot of time observing Mars right now.
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You sort of train your eyes to see more and more detail with Mars, and then as it gets bigger because you’ve been observing it so much, you probably will see a little bit more than you would if you, you know, had never started.
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Or sorry if you would never have started observing early you probably would not see as much detail. Yeah, that’s a really good point.
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You know, my, my nephew and his son are just starting to get out this 18 millimeter telescope I had sent that to my family, year and a half ago. And when I was testing that telescope out to make sure it was going to work I wanted to get a really simple
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telescope that would give a wide field of view so it’s easy to find stuff, but then be capable of actually seeing a little bit on the planets, you know, because just finding the planets are finding whatever it is you’re looking for, can be the difficult
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part so this telescope is designed to make it really easy to find this stuff, and give a pretty good view of this stuff once you actually find it at millimeters pulls in enough light.
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And that telescope, you know as Mars was rated opposition, I was able to see like the main features on Mars like surface major, I was able to see the polar caps you know I was really able to see the color on the disk.
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You know, really will show it really will show it quite well. And that’s like, like $100 80 millimeter f5 telescope, which is kind of what I do recommend beginners if if there’s sort of dead set on actually getting some sort of instrument because I think
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think those sometimes referred to as St ed tech telescopes are great little instruments to get going. Yeah, yeah, they’re inexpensive and very capable.
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Yeah. On the 19th Curtis, x is visible what is the Curtis, x Shane and is there treasure buried there.
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It’s a, it’s a clear obscure feature on the moon, which is just a shadow play.
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So these happen all of the time. I shouldn’t say all of the time but every month there’s usually a blue these Claire obscure effects that you can see on the moon.
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So, essentially like with the craters and ridges and all of that stuff that is on the moon. At certain points it’ll catch the sun at the right angle so certain parts are illuminated while other parts are in shadow, and it creates.
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You know, like in this case the Curtis x which is similar to the Warner x or the Lunar X that might have a little more fame, but same idea you know it’s a neat thing to observe, and certainly worth checking out.
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On the 23rd the zodiacal late starts become visible in the morning sky and seem to be looking towards the east, and you’re going to see a big pillar light, remember I think it was labs, last year, or was it just earlier this year, that there was maybe
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it was last year I feel like it was last year they had those articles that came out talking about how the zodiacal light might be related to material being given off by Mars Am I miss remembering that scene or to remember that.
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Um, no, I think you’re right, Dave Chapman when he was on the podcast mentioned that, that when he was in Florida, he was observing this circle light, and was wondering about its origin and did some research I think and connected with some other folks
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and I believe that that is the belief now that it originated in Mars, but maybe I’m confusing that with the Gagan shine, I can’t remember now.
00:23:10.000 –> 00:23:26.000
Now I think you’re right i think that’s that’s my recollection to so what you can do, what people can do is when they get up early in the morning. You want to make sure that you’re up about an hour before daylight begins to interfere before the start
00:23:26.000 –> 00:23:30.000
of the before the sky start skip right and start start going away.
00:23:30.000 –> 00:23:45.000
And you want to look towards kind of the East southeast, and you’ll see this very narrow tiny pillar giant pillar of light that will stretch up almost looks like think we like the Milky Way but the Milky Way isn’t there it’s sort of perpendicular to the
00:23:45.000 –> 00:23:47.000
Milky Way really.
00:23:47.000 –> 00:24:01.000
Yeah, yeah, it’s kind of a neat thing to see But definitely, definitely need some darker skies as well, to see that, you know, if you’re observing in the backyard in a city, there’s no, there’s no hope.
00:24:01.000 –> 00:24:08.000
So speaking of dark skies on the 25th of September we have the new moon. What does that have to do with dark sky seen.
00:24:08.000 –> 00:24:28.000
Um, well, the moon, even, like, a 50% moon or sometimes even a quarter moon has so much light reflected back that it really washes out the night sky for deep sky observing early on in my amateur astronomy career if you want to call it that.
00:24:28.000 –> 00:24:46.000
I went out to the city on a night when there is about a 30% moon I drove an hour away to get to darker skies and the lesson I learned that night is even, you know, in an area that would typically be very dark when there’s that much moon in the sky.
00:24:46.000 –> 00:24:57.000
It looks the sky looks the same as it would from my backyard in the city. The moon just washes out an awful lot of the sky so for astronomers that really enjoyed deep sky observing.
00:24:57.000 –> 00:25:14.000
And so deep sky observing we’re talking about galaxies Nebula, and globular clusters in particular, if you’re into those three objects, you want it to be as dark as possible, which is New Moon, so that really highlights the best time for those objects.
00:25:14.000 –> 00:25:32.000
And we have Jupiter at opposition The following night so yeah and 26th of September Jupiter’s that opposition and I’ve been doing some Jupyter observing how about you Shane Have you been looking at this giant gas giant oh yeah absolutely I really enjoy
00:25:32.000 –> 00:25:50.000
this time of the year I love looking at Jupiter and Saturn. and then you know the bonuses that Mars will be opposition to so this is a great time if you’re into planetary observing and certainly Jupiter at opposition is, you know, fantastic night and,
00:25:50.000 –> 00:26:07.000
you know, we still have a couple more months of good quality Jupyter observing in front of us. Yeah should be good course you can easily see the four Galilean moons of Jupiter if you have even like my seven by 35 guess it was a couple weeks back I was
00:26:07.000 –> 00:26:19.000
just just out we had a had a good clear night but the moon was up and just took my binoculars so I was looking at the moons of Jupiter through my little telescopes that the moon’s really stick out.
00:26:19.000 –> 00:26:32.000
My wife and I were looking at it. Two nights ago and the moon’s room like this really strange configuration, almost like two Colin’s on either side of Jupiter, which means they were but they were almost like sort of one on top of each other on one side
00:26:32.000 –> 00:26:43.000
one on top of each other on the other side and then we could see the many of the bands on Jupiter very clearly, and you can see a little bit of the detail between the bands.
00:26:43.000 –> 00:26:45.000
and then three weeks ago.
00:26:45.000 –> 00:27:01.000
Mike and Peter and I we had Mike’s 12 inch on on on Jupiter and Peter has a 10 inch, and he noticed that there was this black dot there and came over and kind of pointed out to us were like, Whoa, there’s a shadow transit, taking place Jupiter was just
00:27:01.000 –> 00:27:07.000
rising and as Peter Peters got pretty sharp eyes pretty good observer and.
00:27:07.000 –> 00:27:20.000
And he, he had picked that up but even when Jupiter was maybe just like 15 degrees high and kinda as we watched it rise up out of the sort of gunk the shadow transit became more and more visible I think Mike’s now got a burning passion done downward the
00:27:20.000 –> 00:27:25.000
shadow transits after seeing that he hadn’t seen as many of them before.
00:27:25.000 –> 00:27:37.000
And yeah, once you see them they’re, they’re pretty cool to see you can see some stark contrast as, as the shadow of one of the moons of Jupiter goes across the cloud tops is a really really cool thing to see.
00:27:37.000 –> 00:27:47.000
Yeah, no, that is very cool I, I enjoy all those transits when they occur. I haven’t seen any this year though I need to.
00:27:47.000 –> 00:27:56.000
I need to just, I think, put some, some of those on the calendar to make sure that I’m planning to go out those nights although some of the like double transits that have occurred.
00:27:56.000 –> 00:28:09.000
This year I think we’ve been cloudy and if I remember correctly, I don’t think we’ve been able to see all of them so we have, you’re right. Yeah, yeah, there was there was one a few nights ago I think Mike mad or a nap.
00:28:09.000 –> 00:28:23.000
Yeah, he nabbed one of the, one of the transits there. Yeah, so, so that was pretty exciting so yeah i think that you have anything else to add for this episode we’re trying to, we’re still sort of on quote unquote summer vacation here trying to get some
00:28:23.000 –> 00:28:32.000
observing in during the beautiful weather so yep if you have anything left to add to this episode chain. No, that’s it, Chris. All right, well thanks Shane thanks everybody for listening.
00:28:32.000 –> 00:28:49.000
Be sure to subscribe Oh I know what I was gonna say is they put the 2023, or ASC observers calendar to bed so that will be out in about two months time if people are looking for these sort of events and have a nice wall calendar that you can refer to
00:28:49.000 –> 00:28:57.000
and plan your observing around that will be coming out I am the editor for that calendar and pretty excited to finally get my first full edition end of this year so very exciting.
00:28:57.000 –> 00:29:15.000
Okay, with that, if you want to send in your observing report, send them to actual astronomy at Gmail. com. Thanks so much for listening, everybody.
End of podcast:
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