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September 2014 - Dave Mitsky's Celestial Calendar

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September Celestial Calendar by Dave Mitsky

All times, unless otherwise noted, are UT (subtract four hours and, when appropriate, one calendar day for EDT)

9/1   Mercury is at the descending node today; Mars is 4 degrees south of the Moon at 0:00; the Lunar X (the Purbach or Werner Cross), an X-shaped illumination effect involving various rims and ridges between the craters La Caille, Blanchinus, and Purbach, is predicted to occur at 16:01; asteroid 40 Harmonia (magnitude +9.3) is at opposition at 19:00
9/2   First Quarter Moon occurs at 11:11
9/5   Venus is at perihelion today; Venus is 0.8 degree north of the first-magnitude star Regulus (Alpha Leonis) at 12:00
9/8   The Moon is at perigee, subtending 33.8 arc minutes from a distance of 358,389 kilometers (222,692 miles), at 4:00; Neptune is 5 degrees south of the Moon at 12:00; asteroid 12 Victoria (magnitude +9.0) is at opposition at 12:00
9/9   Full Moon (known as the Barley, Corn, or Fruit Moon), this year’s Harvest Moon, occurs at 1:38
9/11 Mercury is at aphelion today; Uranus is 1.1 degrees south of the Moon, with an occultation taking place in northern Siberia, Greenland, and eastern Canada, at 2:00
9/15 The Moon is 1.4 degrees north of the first-magnitude star Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) at 1:00
9/16 Last Quarter Moon occurs at 2:05
9/17 The Curtiss Cross, an X-shaped illumination effect located between the craters Parry and Gambart, is predicted to occur at 18:50
9/20 Jupiter is 5 degrees north of the Moon at 11:00; the Moon is at apogee, subtending 29.8 arc minutes from a distance of 405,845 kilometers (252,180 miles), at 14:00
9/21 Mercury is 0.6 degree south of the first-magnitude star Spica (Alpha Virginis) at 1:00; Mercury is at its greatest eastern elongation (26 degrees) at 22:00
9/22 Pluto is stationary at 13:00
9/23 The autumnal equinox occurs in the northern hemisphere at 2:29
9/24 New Moon (lunation 1135) occurs at 6:14
9/26 Mercury is 4 degrees south of the Moon at 10:00
9/27 Venus is at its greatest heliocentric latitude north today; Mars is 3 degrees north of the first-magnitude star Antares (Alpha Scorpii) at 21:00
9/28 Asteroid 1 Ceres is 0.1 degree north of the Moon, with an occultation taking place in French Polynesia, Samoa, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea, at 1:00; Saturn is 0.7 degree south of the Moon, with an occultation taking place in Hawaii, northeastern Russia, Japan, and eastern Asia, at 4:00; asteroid 4 Vesta is 0.5 degree south of the Moon, with an occultation taking place in the Middle East, northern Africa, Spain, and Portugal, at 15:00; a double Galilean satellite shadow transit (Europa’s shadow follows Callisto’s) begins at 23:39
9/29 Mars is 6 degrees south of the Moon at 17:00

Karl Harding discovered asteroid 3 Juno on September 1, 1804. E. E. Barnard discovered Jupiter’s fifth satellite, fourteenth-magnitude Amalthea, using the 36-inch refractor at the Lick Observatory on September 9, 1892. On September 19, 1848, William Bond discovered Saturn’s fourteenth-magnitude satellite Hyperion, the first irregular moon to be discovered. Neptune was discovered by Johann Gottfried Galle on September 23, 1846, using Urbain Le Verrier’s calculations of its position.

The minor meteor shower known as the Aurigids, which has a maximum hourly rate of just 6 per hour, peaks on the morning of September 1st.

Information on Iridium flares and passes of the ISS, the Tiangong-1, the USAF’s X-37B, the HST, and other satellites can be found at http://www.heavens-above.com/

The zodiacal light, or the false dawn, is visible about two hours before sunrise from a dark site during the latter part of September. Articles on the zodiacal light appear at http://www.atoptics....ighsky/zod1.htm and http://oneminuteastr...zodiacal-light/

The Moon is 6.4 days old, is illuminated 34.9%, and is located in Libra on September 1st at 0:00 UT. A perigean Full Moon, a so-called supermoon, occurs on the night of September 8th (September 9th UT). High tides occur on September 8th through September 11th. The Moon is at its greatest northern declination (+18.6 degrees) on September 16th and its greatest southern declination (-18.6 degrees) on September 3rd and (-18.6 degrees) September 30th. Longitudinal libration is at a maximum of +7.4 degrees on September 13th and a minimum of -7.3 degrees on September 1st and -6.2 degrees on September 29th. Latitudinal libration is at a maximum of +6.9 degrees on September 18th and a minimum of -6.7 degrees on September 5th. Visit http://saberdoesthes...does-the-stars/ for tips on spotting extreme crescent Moons and http://www.curtrenz.com/moon06.html for Full Moon data. Times and dates for the lunar light rays predicted to occur in June are available at http://www.lunar-occ...o/rays/rays.htm

The Sun is located in Leo on September 1st. It crosses the celestial equator from north to south at 2:29 UT on September 23rd, the date of the autumnal equinox.

Brightness, apparent size, illumination, distance from the Earth in astronomical units, and location data for the planets and Pluto on September 1st: Mercury (magnitude -0.2, 5.4", 83% illuminated, 1.25 a.u., Virgo), Venus (magnitude -3.9, 10.1", 97% illuminated, 1.65 a.u., Leo), Mars (magnitude +0.6, 6.8", 87% illuminated, 1.37 a.u., Libra), Jupiter (magnitude -1.8, 32.1", 100% illuminated, 6.15 a.u., Cancer), Saturn (magnitude +0.6, 16.2", 100% illuminated, 10.24 a.u., Libra), Uranus (magnitude +5.7, 3.7", 100% illuminated, 19.08 a.u. on September 16th, Pisces), Neptune (magnitude +7.8, 2.4", 100% illuminated, 29.01 a.u. on September 16th, Aquarius), and Pluto (magnitude +14.1, 0.1", 100% illuminated, 32.40 a.u. on September 16th, Sagittarius).

This month Mercury is located in the west, Mars and Saturn in the southwest, Uranus in the east, and Neptune in the southeast during the evening. At midnight, Uranus can be found in the southeast and Neptune in the south. Venus and Jupiter are in the east and Uranus is in the southwest in the morning sky.

For observers at latitude 40 degrees north at midmonth, Mercury is visible during evening twilight, Venus is visible during morning twilight in early September, Mars sets at 10:00 p.m. local time, Jupiter rises at 3:00 a.m. local time, and Saturn sets at 10:00 p.m. local time.

Mercury is extremely close to the horizon just after sunset this month. Observers in the southern hemisphere are favored for this evening apparition of the planet. It reaches aphelion on September 11th and is at its greatest eastern elongation of 26 degrees on September 21st. Mercury passes 0.6 degree south of Spica on September 21st and 4 degrees south of the Moon on September 26th.

On September 5th, Venus is at perihelion and lies 0.8 degree north of the first-magnitude star Regulus. As the month progresses, the brilliant planet disappears into the glare of the Sun. It is at its greatest heliocentric latitude north on September 27th.

Mars departs Libra and enters Scorpius on September 13th. On September 25th, it enters Ophiuchus.  Mars is four degrees south of the Moon on September 1st (August 31st in the western hemisphere) and six degrees south of the Moon on September 29th. The Red Planet passes 0.5 degree north of the second-magnitude variable star Delta Scorpii (Dschubba) on September 17th and 3.1 degrees north of its "rival", the first-magnitude star Antares, on September 27th and September 28th. A waxing crescent Moon joins the pair on September 29th. Mars decreases in apparent diameter to 6.1 arc seconds by month’s end.

Jupiter remains near its minimum apparent size this month. It lies three degrees east-southeast of the bright open cluster M44 (the Beehive or Praesepe) in early September. The King of the Planets is five degrees north of the waning crescent Moon on September 20th. By the end of September, Jupiter rises 4.5 hours before the Sun. Click on http://www.skyandtel...watching-tools/ to determine transit times of the central meridian by the Great Red Spot. Data on the Galilean satellites is available at http://d366w3m5tf081...phenTab2014.pdf and http://www.shallowsky.com/jupiter/

Saturn and Mars are separated by five degrees on the evening of September 1st.  Both planets shine at magnitude +0.6. Saturn’s rings span 37 arc seconds and are tilted 22 degrees with respect to the Earth on that date. Tenth-magnitude Rhea, Saturn’s second-largest satellite, occults the eighth-magnitude star SAO 159034 for a maximum of 58 seconds at approximately 8:38 p.m. EDT on September 12th for observers in the northeastern United States and Ontario, Canada. The Moon and Saturn are less than one degree apart on the evening of September 27th. An occultation takes place in some parts of the world, Hawaii being one of them, on September 28th UT.

Uranus is located 2.6 degrees south-southwest of the fourth-magnitude star Epsilon Piscium at the start of September. By month’s end, the gap widens to 3.5 degrees.

Neptune lies just north of the fifth-magnitude star Sigma Aquarii in early this month. It passes 0.5 degree north of Sigma Aquarii on September 11th and remains within 41 arc minutes of the star for the remainder of the month.Lib

Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune can be found on page 51 of the September issue of Sky & Telescope and at http://d366w3m5tf081...eptune_2014.pdf

The dwarf planet Pluto lies in northern Sagittarius. A finder chart is available on pages 50 and 51 of the June issue of Sky & Telescope, page 243 of the RASC Observer’s Handbook 2014, and at http://www.bluewater...2014_2_810K.jpg

For more on the planets and how to locate them, see http://www.nakedeyeplanets.com/ and http://www.astronomy...g/?page_id=1325

Comet C/2012 K1 (PanSTARRS) may shine at sixth magnitude for early risers as it travels southwestward through northwestern Hydra during the second half of September. The speedy comet C/2014 E2 (Jacques), the brightest comet of the year so far, grows fainter as it passes through Cepheus, Cygnus, Vulpecula, Sagitta, and northern Aquila during the course of the month. Comet C/2013 V5 (Oukaimeden) may brighten to fifth magnitude as it glides southeastward through Hydra in the morning sky. On September 25th, it passes approximately one degree south of the spiral galaxy M83. Click on http://www.skyandtel...chers-08202014/ and http://www.alpo-astr...ometblog/?cat=4 for articles on these comets. For further information on comets visible in September, browse http://cometchasing.skyhound.com/ and http://www.aerith.ne...t/future-n.html

Asteroid 12 Victoria shines at ninth magnitude as it glides southwestward through southwestern Pegasus this month. It passes a bit more than one degree south- southeast and then south of the third-magnitude star Zeta Pegasi during the first week of September. Asteroid 40 Harmonia and asteroid 12 Victoria reach opposition on September 1st and September 8th respectively. Asteroids 1 Ceres and 4 Vesta are occulted by the Moon from some parts of the world on September 28th. Data on asteroid occultations taking place this month is available at http://www.asteroido.../2014_09_si.htm and http://www.poyntsour.../New/Global.htm

Click on http://astrocast.tv/ and

for informative videos on astronomical events taking place this month.

Some deep-sky highlights for the month are discussed at http://www.astronomy...g/?page_id=1330

Free star maps for August can be downloaded at http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html and http://www.telescope...thly-Star-Chart

Eighty binary and multiple stars for September: 12 Aquarii, Struve 2809, Struve 2838 (Aquarius); Alpha Capricorni, Sigma Capricorni, Nu Capricorni, Beta Capricorni, Pi Capricorni, Rho Capricorni, Omicron Capricorni, h2973, h2975, Struve 2699, h2995, 24 Capricorni, Xi Capricorni, Epsilon Capricorni, 41 Capricorni, h3065 (Capricornus); Kappa Cephei, Struve 2751, Beta Cephei, Struve 2816, Struve 2819, Struve 2836, Otto Struve 451, Struve 2840, Struve 2873 (Cepheus); Otto Struve 394, 26 Cygni, h1470, h1471, Omicron Cygni, Struve 2657, 29 Cygni, 49 Cygni, 52 Cygni, 59 Cygni, 60 Cygni, 61 Cygni, Struve 2762 (Cygnus); Struve 2665, Struve 2673, Struve 2679, Kappa Delphini, Struve 2715, Struve 2718, Struve 2721, Struve 2722, Struve 2725 (in the same field as Gamma Delphini), Gamma Delphini, 13 Delphini, Struve 2730, 16 Delphini, Struve 2735, Struve 2736, Struve 2738 (Delphinus); 65 Draconis, Struve 2640 (Draco); Epsilon Equulei, Lambda Equulei, Struve 2765, Struve 2786, Struve 2793 (Equuleus); 1 Pegasi, Struve 2797, h1647, Struve 2804, Struve 3112, 3 Pegasi, 4 Pegasi, Kappa Pegasi, h947, Struve 2841, Struve 2848 (Pegasus); h1462, Struve 2653, Burnham 441, Struve 2655, Struve 2769 (Vulpecula)

Notable carbon star for September: LW Cygni

Forty-five deep-sky objects for September: M2, M72, M73, NGC 7009 (Aquarius); M30, NGC 6903, NGC 6907 (Capricornus); B150, B169, B170, IC 1396, NGC 6939, NGC 4343, B361, Ba6, Be87, Cr 421, Do9, IC 1369, IC 4996, IC 1516, LDN 906, M29, M39, NGC 6866, NGC 6871, NGC 6888, NGC 6894, NGC 6910, NGC 6960, NGC 6992, NGC 7000, NGC 7008, NGC 7026, NGC 7027, NGC 7039, NGC 7063, NGC 7086 (Cygnus); NGC 6891, NGC 6905, NGC 6934, NGC 7006 (Delphinus); NGC 7015 (Equuleus); M15 (Pegasus); NGC 6940 (Vulpecula)

Top ten binocular deep-sky objects for September: IC 1396, LDN 906, M2, M15, M29, M30, M39, NGC 6939, NGC 6871, NGC 7000

Top ten deep-sky objects for September: IC 1396, M2, M15, M30, NGC 6888, NGC 6946, NGC 6960, NGC 6992, NGC 7000, NGC 7009

Challenge deep-sky object for September: Abell 78 (Cygnus)

The objects listed above are located between 20:00 and 22:00 hours of right ascension.

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