Friday, September 4, 2020

The September Night Sky

Some of my fondest memories from my childhood are of laying out on a blanket with my dad under the
big Texas sky and looking at the stars. Even today when I see the moon, I think of my dad.

Something I've wanted to do for awhile now, is to share my love of the night sky and astronomy and astrology here in this space with you. If things like this don't interest you, then feel free to move on.

Each month I will highlight a few celestial events that are coming up, and point you to resources (most of which are free) that you can use either for yourself or with your children to help you learn more about the night sky. I'll also dot the posts with related quotes from some of my favorite books on the subject and poems that you and your children will enjoy reading together. I hope that this small labor of love will bless you and your family!

Graphic, above left from and in header graphic
by Ignace Gaston Pardies


September 2 - The Full Corn Moon
On September 2, although you can still get a good look at it tonight, it's currently in the waning gibbous stage and is 97% full. 

September 5 - The Bright Moon Dances With Mars
When the waning gibbous moon rises in the east around 9:45, it will be positioned just about a finger's width to the right of Mars, close enough to appear together in binoculars and telescopes at low magnification. 

September 10 - Last Quarter Moon
At its last quarter phase at 9:26 GMT on Thursday, Sept. 10, the moon will rise around midnight and remain visible in the southern sky all morning.

September 22 - Autumn Equinox
On Tuesday, Sept. 22  the sun will cross the celestial equator moving southward, marking the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of autumn there. On the equinoxes in March and September, day and night are of equal length and the sun rises due east and sets due west.

You'll find more night sky events for September, here.

And here are some tools to help you, and perhaps the littles in your life learn how to identify the planets and constellations in the night sky.


The first three resources I've listed are geared towards children, but if you're new to stargazing the first two  links I've listed can still prove quite useful. If you want to begin keeping a Star Gazing diary you could certainly do so in a journal or notebook of your own.
- Constellation Cards from Lie Back, Look Up
- Summer Sky Map from Lie Back, Look Up
- Stargazing Diary from Lie Back, Look Up

Probably my favorite star gazing resource, I've used these for years!
- The Evening Sky Map - September 2020 from Sky Maps if you need a map for the Southern Hemisphere you can find one at their website.

Below you will find a few books on the subject that are FREE to borrow from the Internet Archives. If you find one you like, perhaps you could find a copy at your local library or search for a good used copy from Amazon.

Also be sure to check out these cool moon phase graphics
that are posted monthly @moonbodysoul on Instagram!

And finally, I leave you with this from one of my favorite seasonal books.

"The stars of summer reach their final apogee in the sky; one last parade through the warm and pleasant evenings before the winds of autumn hurry them from their celestial scene. Vega and Deneb shine directly overhead, as if boasting of their eventual return. Altair casts his baleful eye towards toward the south. There the "watery" constellations can be seen rising above the horizon. The Greeks thought that below the equator lay a limitless stream of ocean and named some of the constellations they glimpsed briefly at this time of year for their association with water, Pisces, the fish, and Aquarius, the water bearer.

Farther south and invisible to those who live above 38 degrees of latitude, is the enormous constellation of Argo Navis, named after the ship that carried Jason and the Argonauts on their adventures. Skywatchers later broke up this huge constellation to form three smaller ones, Carina, the keel, Vela, the sail, and Puppa , the poop deck. 

Although named after the famous Argo, the great starry vessel of the sky was also said to be the first ship ever sailed and was placed in the sky by Zeus, as a celebration of man's nautical prowess. In the early autumn if you live south of The Mid Atlantic states, watch for Canopus. one of the brightest stars in the sky on the souther horizon. It forms the tip of Carina, Argo's celestial keel, steering the ship ever southward. While autumn comes to the north with fluttering leaves and chill breezes, the ship of heaven follows the sun."

from The Dance fo Time
by Michael Judge

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