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What's Up...
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...

The following tips on exciting current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal
astro-experiences to look forward to.

Mon.  Sept. 1 - For meteor shower fans who felt short-changed when the near Full Moon interfered with August's Perseid meteor shower, there may be something to make up for it in the pre-dawn hours this morning. 'Aurigid meteors' are definitely in the minor league, but this morning they will peak in the northeast sky before dawn. While typically producing only a handful of meteors per hour, the numbers of Aurigids can sometimes increase to over 100 per hour, and you never know if this might be one of those occasions.

Tues. Sept. 2 - This is First Quarter Moon night when our half lit neighbour dramatically takes center stage in the evening sky.

Wed. Sept. 3 - With the earlier arrival of dusk, those wishing some serious fun observing might consider the 'Milky Way Marathon'. In the same way that the maximum number of Messier objects can be seen in the course of a night in March, it is possible to see virtually all of the Milky Way that is visible from Canada during September. The idea is to begin in the evening with Sagittarius on the southern horizon, and work your way up the Milky Way through Scutum, Cygnus and overhead. As the night wears on the perspective changes as the Perseus arm begins to swing overhead and more and more of the 'other side' of the Milky Way rises, culminating with the appearance of Taurus and Orion and the outside view of our galaxy during the pre-dawn hours. Our Okanagan Observatory with its excellent Milky Way dark sky view would be a perfect place for this all night campaign.

Fri. Sept. 5 - The Zodiacal Light is something that is most often mentioned in the spring months when the Sun illuminates dust particles in the equatorial plane of the solar system, producing a faint triangle of light extending into the western evening sky. The same applies to fall, however in this case the glow is seen in the pre-dawn eastern sky. The coming weeks will offer an opportunity for early risers to view and identify the fall Zodiacal light.

Mon. Sept. 8 - Tonight celebrates the bounty of the fall season with the Harvest Moon, one that finds the Moon near its perihelion point and thus a bit larger than usual. In earlier times the Moon performed a useful and important function by adding light to late evening harvest operations, not just for one night, but several in a row. This is because in fall our satellite is moving lower along the ecliptic which compensates somewhat for its eastwardly movement each night.

Wed. Sept. 10 - Tonight the waning gibbous Moon is close to the outer planet Uranus. So close in fact, that for eastern Canada it will occult the small blue-green disk.

Sun. Sept. 14 - The Moon is moving further into the late night sky, and will be just over the width of your middle finger from bright Aldebaran in Taurus tonight. This orange giant star is 65 light years away and is busy edging in from stage left in preparation for it's main evening performance which will begin in November.

Mon. Sept. 15 - This is Last Quarter Moon night, providing the attractive sight of the half illuminated Moon riding high in the morning sky. It is also pleasant to reflect that it signals that the next dark Moon period is approaching rapidly for those interested in observing, sketching and imaging deep sky objects.

Sat. Sept. 20 - The rapidly diminishing crescent Moon ornaments the early morning sky. Tonight it will pass the width of your three middle fingers from giant Jupiter which is beginning its climb higher into the pre dawn sky.

Mon. Sept. 22 - Where did the time go? It seemed only weeks ago we observed the Summer Solstice with the Sun setting at its northernmost point on the horizon. The official moment of autumnal equinox will be at  7.29pm PDT. The Penticton OCRASC meeting group is planning a gathering at Pen Henge on Munson Mountain at around 5.45pm in preparation for observing the sunset over the heel and equinox stones. Also, watch for an announcement about a possible event at the proposed Vernon Henge site on Middleton Mountain which may be scheduled for the same afternoon.

Wed. Sept. 24 - This is New Moon Night and prime time for dark sky observing, sketching and imaging without any interference from our bright neighbour.

Sat. Sept. 27 - The fingernail crescent of the Moon is moving higher into the evening sky. Tonight it will appear just over the width of your middle finger from ringed Saturn low in the sky, providing a dramatic view as well as a photo op.

Mon. Sept. 29 - The bright red star Antares, which is named 'the rival of Mars', meets its namesake low in the western sky tonight. From the horizon up will be Antares, just above it Mars, and above them both a waxing crescent Moon. Back home Antares is a red super giant star which, if it were placed where the Sun is, would have its outer surface between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.