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Star Gazing - September 24, 2018
Monday, September 24
• Full Moon (exact at 10:52 p.m. EDT). The Moon rises in the east soon after sunset. Later in the evening you'll find
the Great Square of Pegasus above it by a couple of fists at arm's length.
Tuesday, September 25
• A week ago, Altair stood straight above Mars after nightfall. Now Altair is moving a little to the right of straight
above Mars as seen at this time.
Why? Stars high in the south appear to move west faster than stars low in the south (for those of us in the mid-
northern latitudes). Moreover, Mars is now moving eastward (leftward) against the stars behind it — faster every week.
Wednesday, September 26
• As the stars come out in late twilight, Cassiopeia is already higher in the northeast now than the sinking Big Dipper is
in the northwest. You'll find Cassiopeia's broad W pattern almost standing on end.
Thursday, September 27
• Arcturus shines ever lower in the west-northwest after dark. The narrow kite shape of its constellation, Bootes,
extends two fists at arm's length to Arcturus's upper right; Arcturus is where the tail would be tied on.
• To the right of Bootes, the Big Dipper is now turning more level.
• And during evening at this time of year, the dim Little Dipper "dumps water" into the bowl of the Big Dipper way
down below it. The Big Dipper will dump it back in the evenings of spring.
Moon and Aldebaran, Sept. 28-30, 2018
Every September, the late-night waning gibbous Moon crosses late-night Taurus.
Friday, September 28
• Late this evening, spot the Pleiades upper left of the Moon as shown here. When the Pleiades climb the eastern sky in
autumn, we see their tiny dipper pattern standing on its handle.
Saturday, September 29
• There's roughly a two-hour window of darkness now between twilight's end and moonrise (for in the world's mid-
northern latitudes). The window gets longer every night this week. Take the opportunity to work through Jerry Oltion's
"Tourist Guide to the Autumn Highlights" for small scopes in the October Sky & Telescope, page 28.
• Late tonight when the Moon does rise, it's in company with Aldebaran — though not necessarily quite as shown here,
for the reasons in the caption at the top of this page.
By Sunday morning the 30th, the Moon and Aldebaran are shining very high toward the south.
Starry, Starry Night . . .
"I know nothing of any certainty, but the sight of the stars
makes me dream." -Vincent Van Gogh