Monday, September 21, 2015

This week's astronomy hi-lites

September 21: Fomalhaut
The bright star Fomalhaut climbs into view in the southeast by about 9 p.m.
and stands due south around midnight. There are no other bright stars around
it, so it's easy to pick out.

September 22: September Equinox
Astronomical fall begins at 3:21 a.m. CDT tomorrow, with the autumnal
equinox. It is the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator from north
to south, and marks a time of roughly equal amounts of daylight and
darkness.

September 23: Dabih
The star Dabih stands quite close above or to the upper right of the Moon at
nightfall - less than the width of a finger held at arm's length. Binoculars
reveal two stars, known as Dabih Major and Dabih Minor.

September 24: Morning Lineup
The planet Mars and the star Regulus, the leading light of Leo, stand side
by side, low in the east, about an hour before sunrise tomorrow. Mars is to
the left of slightly brighter Regulus.

September 25: Weekend Goodies
A couple of hours before sunrise tomorrow, look for Venus, the "morning
star," almost due east. The only pinpoint of light that even comes close to
its brilliance is Jupiter, which is quite low in the sky at that hour, well
to the lower left of Venus.

September 26: Lunar Eclipse
Earth, Moon, and Sun are about to achieve syzygy - a near-perfect alignment.
The full Moon will pass through Earth's shadow tomorrow night, creating a
total lunar eclipse. All or most of the eclipse will be visible across the
entire U.S.

September 27: Eclipsed Harvest Super Moon
A total lunar eclipse will decorate the sky this evening as the full Moon
passes through Earth's long shadow. This is also the Harvest Moon, which is
the full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox.

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