Celestial Show: Mars, Saturn, Antares and the moon
Celestial Show: Mars, Saturn, Antares and the moon

Celestial Show: Mars, Saturn, Antares and the moon

Stargazers are not running out of celestial shows to watch this month. As early as this week, the moon is scheduled to meet planets Saturn and Mars and their gathering is visible in the night sky.

Saturday, September 10

• This evening the Moon shines over the Sagittarius Teapot. The Teapot, about the size of your fist at arm’s length, is tipping and pouring to the right.

Sunday, September 11

• The Moon is just about equidistant from Altair, which is high to its upper left after dark, and Mars, which is far off to the Moon’s right and somewhat lower.

Monday, September 12

• Now the Moon shines straight under Altair at dusk. A finger-width above Altair is Tarazed, Gamma Aquilae. Altair is 16.7 light-years distant; Tarazed is about 390. The name “Tarazed” comes for the Persian for “balance beam,” referring to the pattern it makes with Altair and fainter Beta Aquilae on Altair’s other side.

Tuesday, September 13

• As dusk turns to night, Arcturus twinkles due west. It’s getting lower every week. And off to its right in the northwest, the Big Dipper is turning more and more level.

Wednesday, September 14

• How soon after sunset can you see the big Summer Triangle? Face east. Vega, the Triangle’s brightest star, is practically at the zenith (for skywatchers at mid-northern latitudes). Deneb is the first bright star you encounter to Vega’s east-northeast. Altair shines less high in the southeast.

Thursday, September 15

• A winter preview: Step out before the first light of dawn this week, and the sky displays the same starry panorama as it will at dusk next February. Orion stands high in the south, Sirius and Canis Major sparkle to its lower left, and Gemini occupies the high east.

Friday, September 16

• Full Moon (exact at 3:05 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time). As night comes on, look for the Great Square of Pegasus to its upper left. The Square, a bit larger than a fist at arm’s length, stands on one corner.

• A fairly deep penumbral (fringe) eclipse of the Moon is visible from eastern Europe, eastern Africa, Asia, and the westernmost Pacific. Map and full details.

Saturday, September 17

• Now the Moon shines below the Great Square of Pegasus. From the Great Square’s left corner extends a big line of three 2nd-magnitude stars, running to the lower left, that mark the head, backbone and leg of the constellation Andromeda. The line of three includes the Square’s corner.


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