Photo of the Week.Total eclipse of the Moon, August 28, 2007. The reddish
color of the Moon comes from light leaking into the shadow through
the Earth's atmosphere. The upper part of the Moon is darker
because it is closer to the shadow's center and also contains a
dark lava plain called Oceanus Procellarum.
Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, September 14,
Our Moon waxes through its crescent
phase early in the week, then passes first quarter on Wednesday, September 19,
after which it continues to grow in the waxing gibbous. The evening of Monday the
17th, look for the crescent below Antares, with Jupiter topping the
pair. The following night the Moon will appear to the left of
Antares, these two and Jupiter now making a fine triangle. The day
after our week begins, the crescent will pass apogee, where it is
farthest from the Earth.
Ever so gradually, Jupiter shifts more
and more to the southwest as seen in early evening, the giant
planet now setting around 10:30 PM Daylight Time. Mercury is up in western twilight as well, but
so low as to be difficult to find, and really requires binoculars.
We do now, however, have Mars
as an evening object, though a bit later, the red planet now rising
in Taurus around 11:30 Daylight
Time. Still moving easterly against the starry background, Mars
now rides between the horns of the celestial Bull to the east of
the Hyades cluster. It's on its
way to Gemini, which it will
reach about the end of the month, and does not enter
retrograde until November 15. Finally, on December 24, it will
pass opposition with the Sun. An hour of so after Mars rises, Uranus -- barely
visible to the naked eye -- crosses the meridian to the
The morning sky is now graced by Venus
, which rises just before 4 AM, over an hour before the onset
of twilight and the hard-to-see rising of Saturn. Venus will
continue to get brighter until next week, and will -- still
brilliant -- continue to get higher in the sky well into October.
The Sun is moving
about as rapidly as it ever does to the south in preparation for
its passage of the autumnal
equinox next week, the points of sunrise and sunset moving ever
closer to the east and west points of the horizon.