Skylights featured five times on Earth Science
Picture of the Day: 1
Photo of the Week.. A remarkably thin waning
crescent Moon, just 30 hours from new, rises in eastern dawn, the
ghostly disk of earthlight on the Moon's nighttime side appearing
just above it.
Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, September 30,
We pass (rather the Moon passes) through its new phase during the
week, on Monday October 3. Prior to that you can see it as a thin
waning crescent (see above) at dawn, and by the night of Tuesday
the 4th and thereafter as a thin waxing crescent in evening twilight.
The best lunar viewing of the week will take place the night of
Thursday, October 6, when the Moon will couple with
Venus, appearing down and to the right of the brilliant planet.
Unmistakable in evening twilight, Venus now sets a quarter hour or
so after twilight ends and by the middle of the week will set just
as Mars rises
in the east as the red planet graces western Pisces just to the northeast of the head of Cetus. Before long, both planets
will be visible in the evening sky, one nearly opposite the other.
then holds forth with two other passages, coming into
conjunction with the star Spica on
Tuesday the 4th and into conjunction with Jupiter on Thursday the 6th, both planets
now in bright twilight and both quite invisible. Though Jupiter is
out of sight, you can still nicely admire
Saturn, which rises around 2 AM Daylight Time within the
confines of dim Cancer, the Crab,
just south of the Beehive
As the Moon passes new on Monday the 3rd, it also passes in front
of the Sun to produce an eclipse that will unfortunately miss the Americas
altogether. Having recently passed apogee (last Wednesday,
September 28), the Moon will be too far away to cover the Sun
completely, which will create an "annular
eclipse" in which a ring of sunlight will seem to surround the
darkened Moon. The remaining sunlight is so bright that the solar
corona will not be visible at all. The path of annularity runs
from the mid-Atlantic, across Spain, then northeastern Africa, and
out into the Pacific. Nearly all of Europe and Africa will witness
various degrees of partial eclipse. If you are in the partial or
annular path, do NOT look directly at the Sun, which is bright
enough to burn the eye. Use either professionally-made filters or
observe by projection, in which the sunlight is cast through a
pinhole onto a screen, or even onto the ground. Solar and lunar
eclipses appear in pairs, and sure enough there will just barely be
a partial eclipse of the full Moon on the morning
of Monday the 17th that will be visible in central and western
North America and in Hawaii.
Look in the northeast in late evening past Perseus to see the ascension of Capella of Auriga, the most northerly of first magnitude stars,
and sixth brightest in the sky. A good counterpart in the southern
hemisphere would be Achernar at
the end of the river Eridanus.
Between it and the south celestial
pole lies the modern constellation Hydrus, the "Water Snake," one of the many "fearful
serpents" of the sky.