September is good month to view the Andromeda galaxy, which I got a good photograph of during August.
galaxy is about 2.5 million light years away from us. Scientists
estimate that the galaxy, known as M31, contains a trillion
stars. If that number is meaningless, think of it this way:
A trillion pennies is $10 billion dollars! By comparison, the
Milky Way, our home galaxy, contains about 300 billion stars.
apparent magnitude of M31 is 3.4. Under clear, dark skies, it
should be visible to the naked eye. That also makes it an easy
target for binoculars. M31 can be found in the northeast evening skies
throughout September. If you need instructions for finding it, try this
to the Western horizon for the triangle formed by Venus, Jupiter, and
Mercury just after sunset on the first three nights of September.
Mercury is the very small “star” nearest to the horizon, followed by
Jupiter and finally Venus. You might still be able to see all
three on Sept. 4, but Mercury will be very close to the horizon and
setting sun. Both Venus and Jupiter will be visible at dusk
until the Sept. 14. Venus will continue to be visible
near the western horizon through the rest of the month. Then, it will
appear to creep further south as September progresses.
triangle that is easy to locate is the one formed by Saturn, Mars, and
Antares. September begins with it in the south-southwest.
As the month progresses, Mars will appear to lag behind Saturn and
Antares as they begin the evening closer and closer to the southwest
will begin September just above the eastern horizon at dusk. Uranus
will follow it, rising at 9:17 p.m. on Sept. 1. You might be able
to spot Uranus with the naked eye, but it’s easier to use binoculars or
a telescope for viewing these two planets.
Pluto will be in the southern skies for all of September.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM AUGUST
was a great month for both observational astronomy and
astrophotography. We had a lot of dark, clear nights with
relatively low humidity.
This is the M31, the Andromeda Galaxy.
And below is NGC 6357. It’s a star-forming area in the
constellation Scorpius. NGC6357 is 8,000 light years away and has
an apparent magnitude of +10.
New moon: Sept. 1
First quarter: Sept. 9
Full moon: Sept. 16
Last quarter: Sept. 23
Lebing is a retired computer scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey
in Washington, D.C. He has visited Hatteras Island since the
mid-1970s. He and his wife, Karen, have owned property here for several
years and moved to their home in Waves full-time in 2013.
Astronomy is a subject that Gerry says he has always been interested in
and one that he pursues seriously -- he's built an small observatory
next to his house. You can send him questions about the night sky
through e-mail, [email protected].)