Image above by Ignace-Gaston Pardies, Star Atlas, 1844
It was my father who instilled my love for astronomy in me. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of laying out on a blanket under that big Texas sky and listening intently as he pointed out the North Star, the constellations, and watching for satellites passing by. It always started out with the four of us, but almost without fail mom would succumb early to the still lingering Texas heat and take my brother in with her, leaving dad and I to scan the skies alone. It was one of the few times I felt I had him all to myself, and I will cherish the memories of those times for as long as I live.
Observing the sky is still one of my favorite things to do, and is a wonderful aid in living with intention by taking notice of the changes of the moon, the stars and the planets in each season. To this day if I know there is a full moon, regardless of where I am, I’ll make it a point to step outside and observe it. Looking up that moon reminds me of my place, somehow, in the vastness of the universe. It being so large and me so small humbles me in ways. It reminds me that life is a gift and reminds me to guard and to number my days.
With that, I intend to write a post on or around the first of each month, making mention of the astrological events that are taking place in the upcoming days. I also plan to write one around the beginning of each season so be looking for the first Autumn installation, coming soon! Though this information is more a collection for myself, if you too love observing the night sky, then I invite you to follow along. And with that, here is The September Sky!
“Constellations that can be seen in the evening sky change from month to month. Stars rise and set four minutes earlier each night and, as a result, we see constellations rising and setting two hours earlier each month. They move by 90 degrees from one season to the next and return to the same position after a full year. Each constellation is best seen in the evening sky at a certain time of year, whether it only briefly shows up above the horizon or it is visible throughout the year from a certain location.”
Following is a list of constellations that can be seen beginning at 9 p.m. during the month of September. Note that these are not ALL of the constellations that can be seen in the evening sky at any particular time, but simply those that are best observed at the given time of year.
The following link will provide you with a wonderful sky map for September produced monthly by Sky Maps. They have a wonderful website load with information about the night sky. In the years that we home educated, I found this website and their resources invaluable.
Though I don’t place a lot of faith in astrology as a means of determining character and temperament and I don’t read my horoscope, there is a beautiful history surrounding the constellations and astrological signs that I find fascinating.
I first became aware to the correlation between the constellations and the story of the gospel when I was home educating my youngest daughter using this curriculum. And though some would argue the validity of such, while I don’t view this as an absolute truth, as a Christian I much prefer viewing the constellations in this light, no pun intended :)! If you are interested, you can learn more about this and come to your own conclusion. Here are some articles and resources I have found.
In September, four planets, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and Mars will continue their arc across the evening sky from east to west. You can learn more about the visibility about each of these planets throughout the month, by following this link.
from The Farmer’s Almanac
The planets are still all highly visible but will soon decline.
* Venus reaches greatest brilliancy at magnitude –4.8 in the latter half of this month, but it has gotten much lower.
* Mercury is bright at magnitude –1 in the predawn east from the 1st to the 6th, when it meets Leo’s blue star, Regulus.
* Jupiter stands above Venus, with their separation narrowing each evening.
* The Moon passes to the right of Jupiter on the 13th, to the left of still optimal Saturn on the 17th, and above Mars on the 19th.
* The Red Planet fades to magnitude –1.6 at midmonth, matching Sirius, the night’s brightest true star.
Autumn arrives with the equinox on the 22nd at or 9:54 P.M. ET. (I’ll be writing an entire post about this and how we plan to celebrate very soon! It is, perhaps, my absolute FAVORITE day of the year!)
September 2 – Last Quarter Moon 10:37 p.m.
September 9 – New Moon 2:01 p.m.
September 16 – First Quarter Moon 7:15 p.m.
September 24 – Full Moon 10:52 p.m.
SUNRISE AND SUNSET
In addition to the night sky, I also like to keep track fo the sunrise and sunset of each day. You can find information for your location at this link.
THIS WEEK’S AMAZING SKY
The Farmer’s Almanac produces a weekly post at their website, highlighting astronomical events by week. I refer to it often and have found it to be great resource.
I hope that this has at least peaked your interest a little and given you a starting point for enjoying the beauty that readily available to behold every night! Slow down, look up, gaze. There’s a beautiful world out there, free for the taking!