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TONIGHT - Equinox, Harvest Moon and Jupiter


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If you're interested in sky happenings, be sure to keep your eyes on the sky tonight as the Harvest Moon is in conjunction with Jupiter on the evening of the autumnal equinox. Also watch for the next few evenings to observe the Moon draw away from Jupiter. -jay

 

http://www.aweber.com/archive/classical-astro/dqpO/h/Classical_Astronomy_Update.htm

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And a follow-up question:

 

For the past few nights, we've been watching Jupiter and what we think is Uranus. On Sunday night, they looked like a doughnut, with Jupiter glowing big and Uranus dark and right on top. Did we get that right? :tongue_smilie: Last night, Uranus had moved up to the top of Jupiter.

 

Also, are we able to see Venus and Mars in the West? We had a bit of cloud cover and, and too much light in the neighborhood, but I was hopeful to see them as well.

 

Thanks,

Lisa

 

ETA: After re-reading your newsletter, I'm wondering whether that was a shadow across Jupiter we were seeing? A true newbie here, but I do have one dc intrigued by the stars and I'm trying to limp along and help him out. Oy, the new things we learn along with our kids!

Edited by FloridaLisa
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Hi Lisa, thanks, I drop in WTM from time to time. It's always been a "mom-only" environment around here! :)

 

I assume you're looking at Jupiter and Uranus through a scope. Yesterday was the closest conjunction of these two, only 0.9 degrees, and I'm sure they made an interesting pair as seen in the eyepiece. For my part, I rarely drag out the scope and missed it. I forgot to mention that in my newsletter, even though such conjunctions occur at 12 year intervals.

 

FWIW, Jupiter is presently retrograding, and after it moves east again, it will swing past to Uranus on the evening of Jan 2, 2011. That time it will be even closer, only 0.6 degrees separation, a little more than a Moon diameter.

 

Venus and Mars will make their closest pass next Tuesday evening, September 28. It will be a challenge to spot Mars as it will be a distant 6 degrees away from Venus, and very faint, low in the sky during twilight and nearly on the opposite side of the Sun from Earth. I'd recommend a very flat horizon for looking for Mars, such as over water. Are you on the Gulf Coast?

 

I'm still seeing Venus in the evening, but it is low to the southwest due to the inclination of the ecliptic in the current season. Send me an email if you succeed in spotting Mars in the coming week.

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And a follow-up question:

ETA: After re-reading your newsletter, I'm wondering whether that was a shadow across Jupiter we were seeing? A true newbie here, but I do have one dc intrigued by the stars and I'm trying to limp along and help him out. Oy, the new things we learn along with our kids!

 

Missed this before, sorry.

 

You probably saw a shadow transit of one of the Jovian moons across the face of Jupiter. These are very common occurrences and there are tables and software online for finding the times. Not sure where, but the Sky & Telescope site is a good place to look.

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Hi Lisa, thanks, I drop in WTM from time to time. It's always been a "mom-only" environment around here! :)

 

Yes, but less so now than in the olden days I think!

 

We are on the east coast. I *think* I spotted Venus yesterday just at sundown, low on the western horizon. But about 30 minutes later, when we dragged out the telescope, there was cloud cover and we were unable to see it.

 

Those kind of nights always make me wish we lived waaaaay out in the country. :001_smile:

 

Lisa

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