Celestial Calendar


sept. 1 Last Quarter Moon sept. 2 From now until about Sept. 13, the Milky Way, unobscured by moonlight, arches overhead from northeast to south once the sky is fully dark. Many skygazers consider this the year's premier evening-hours dark-sky window.

sept. 5 Zodiacal light prominent in eastern predawn sky for next two weeks sept. 8 New Moon, 6:30 a.m., EOT

sept. 11 Crescent Moon 7° away from Venus, very low in evening twilight sept. 15 First Quarter Moon sept. 18 <a> Jupiter passes 0.8° below Uranus tonight sept. 19 Mercury at greatest angle away from Sun (18°) in dawn sky sept. 21 Jupiter and Uranus both at opposition (close together and rising at sunset)

sept. 22 Moon 5° above Jupiter; equinox (autumn officially begins at 11:09 p.m., EDT)

sept. 23 Full Moon, 5:17 a.m., EDT (Harvest Moon); Venus at greatest brilliancy (magnitude -4.8)

sept. 27 Waning gibbous Moon 1.5° below Pleiades sept. 28 Two-week moonless period oct. 7 <a> Comet Hartley near Double Cluster; New Moon, 2:44 p.m., EDT

oct. 14 First Quarter Moon oct. 19 Gibbous Moon 5° above Jupiter oct. 21 Orionid meteor shower peaks (poor moonlit conditions)

oct. 24 Waning gibbous Moon 2° away from Pleiades oct. 31 <a> Double shadow transit on Jupiter from 12:15 a.m. to 3 a.m., begins; ideal for viewing Comet Hartley EDT (late on Oct. 30 for western time zones)

sept. 30 Last Quarter Moon

For more detailed information, see the Observer's Handbook 2010, published by The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (www.rasc.ca or 888-924-7272).

Cartography and design by Roberta Cooke. Base chart data derived from maps drawn by Roy Bishop for the Observer's Handbook, published by The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Rotating night sky: During the night, the Earth's rotation on its axis slowly shifts the entire sky. This is the same motion that swings the Sun on its daily east-to-west trek. The rotational hub is Polaris, the North Star, located almost exactly above the Earth's North Pole. Everything majestically marches counterclockwise around it, a motion that becomes evident after about half an hour.

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