SCAS – Southern Colorado Skies – August 30 – September 5, 2015

Consider a planetarium program to help you plan your observations. There are many commercial products available, and a very good program (Cartes du Ciel) is available free at http://www.ap-i.net/skychart/en/start.

This Week:

Look for bright Vega high overhead just after dark. Vega is in the constellation Lyra (the Lyre), shines at apparent magnitude 0.03 (it is the “standard” for magnitude measurements), is about 25 light-years away, and is a white main sequence star. Yellow-orange Arcturus is in the west, about 37 light-years away.

Saturday (September 5):

The Last-Quarter Moon will be just to the lower left of Aldebaran; look for it rising about 1 a.m. MDT. The Last-Quarter Moon occurs at 3:54 a.m. MDT.

September’s full moon will include a total lunar eclipse. Plan to join SCAS at the Nature Center for this event and our annual party – this eclipse occurs in the early evening! More details later. Here is a photo of the “Blood Moon” taken last April to show you what to expect!

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Planets:

Mercury (in Virgo): Visible on the western horizon about 20 minutes after dusk. Bring binoculars or a small telescope for the best chance of spotting it! Don’t point your instrument near the Sun, though!

Venus (in Cancer): Should be visible in the dawn sky. Taken earlier this year, the photo shows bright Venus and dimmer Mercury just over the mountain below.
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Mars (in Cancer): Rises in the east just to the left of Venus, although about 300 times fainter!

Jupiter (in Leo): Out of sight now – in conjunction behind the Sun.

Saturn (in Libra): In the southwest as darkness falls. Look for it to the right of Scorpius.

Uranus (in Pisces): Well up in the eastern sky before midnight.

Neptune (in Aquarius): Well up in the southeastern sky before midnight.

Iridium Flares and International Space Station (ISS):

Sorry – these are too numerous to list here! If you’re serious, load the ISS DETECTOR app on your smart phone or tablet. Alternatively, refer to Chuck Percival’s column in the Sunday Pueblo Chieftain.

Have fun!