Break out the telescope or binoculars. September is going to provide a host of astronomical viewing opportunities that will require a bit of extra visual power in order to spot them in all of their glory. While it was Jupiter and Saturn appearing alongside each other in the sky that stole the show in August, it will be an amazing galaxy, a full moon, and the fall equinox that light up the sky during the calendar’s ninth month.
Spotting the Andromeda Galaxy
In early September, the stunning Andromeda Galaxy will set the sky ablaze with light and brightness. This galaxy is distinguished as being the biggest galaxy in Earth’s celestial area. In fact, the Andromeda Galaxy boasts twice as many stars compared to our own Milky Way Galaxy. However, despite its large size, it can often be challenging to see the features of the Andromeda Galaxy, in large part due to its distance of being 2.5 million light-years away from Earth.Read More »
In order to find Andromeda, train your eyes on the Cassiopeia constellation. This constellation is shaped like the letter “w” with the upper angle of this feature forming an arrow that points to the Andromeda Galaxy. You will find Cassiopeia rising in the northeastern skies shortly after the sun goes down.
The Andromeda Galaxy will come into focus as a fuzzy and blurry cloud. However, within that cloud is an amazing amount of stars, moons, planets, and other celestial bodies.
It may take a few attempts to spot this galaxy. In order for the best results, try looking at the beginning of the month when the light from the crescent moon is not obstructing the view with light pollution.
On September 20, the sky will be aglow in the light from the Harvest Moon. As one of the last nights of the astronomical summer calendar, this moon will welcome in fall with a bang. You will spot the moon just after sunset on this Monday evening, provided that the skies are clear enough for you to get a good view of its beauty.
This moon is distinguished as the full moon that rises nearest to the September equinox. Other names for this moon include the Autumn Moon, the Yellow Leaf Moon, and the Falling Leaves Moon.
The astronomical autumn will start in the Northern Hemisphere at 3:21 pm EDT on Wednesday, September 22. Note that this is not the same date as the meteorological autumn, beginning on September 1 every calendar year.
The autumn equinox occurs at the exact moment that the sun’s most direct rays are turned to the equator. This means that the day and the next night are equal in length throughout the entire planet with both phases lasting 12 hours.
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