Skywatch: Jupiter stars in September’s cooling nights


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September’s cooling nights characteristic the distinguished Jupiter because the planet reaches “opposition” on Sept. 26, in response to the U.S. Naval Observatory.

Don’t fear. There are not any enemy worlds concerned: “Opposition” signifies that Earth is caught between the solar and a planetary object. Consider this idea: We get to look at a “full” Jupiter — very like a full moon.

Early this week, Jupiter rises about 9 p.m. within the japanese sky. By Labor Day weekend, the big, gaseous planet ascends the night heavens beginning round 8:30 p.m. It’s an extremely vibrant -2.9 magnitude, noticed between the constellations Pisces (the fish) and Cetus (the whale).

Throughout the month, Jupiter rises earlier. By the date of opposition, Sept. 26, the planet rises at 7 p.m., stays up all evening, then units at dawn.

Jupiter reaches opposition yearly. Last month, it was Saturn’s flip (Aug. 14), and we’ll see a vibrant Mars at its opposition Dec. 8.

The final time Jupiter was this massive and vibrant — from Earth’s perspective — was Sept. 21, 2010, and Oct. 29, 2011, in response to the observatory. Our favourite fifth planet from the solar will get this shut once more on Aug. 25, 2033, Oct. 2, 2034, and Nov. 8, 2035 — when all three of these oppositions attain -2.9 magnitude, mentioned astronomer Geoff Chester of the Naval Observatory.

The first-quarter moon trots previous Saturn (zero magnitude, vibrant) within the constellation Capricornus on Sept. 7-8, within the southeastern heavens about 9 p.m.

The moon reaches full Sept. 10 and cruises previous the dazzling Jupiter the following evening, then approaches the fuzzy Pleiades cluster within the Taurus constellation Sept. 14-15.

Later within the night now, the last-quarter moon scoots previous the brightening Mars (additionally in Taurus, magnitude -0.4, vibrant sufficient to see) on Sept. 16-17. While our neighboring Red Planet rises round 11 p.m. on this early a part of September, discover it within the east-northeast after midnight.

The often vibrant Venus is kind of near the solar, hugging the horizon and rising simply earlier than dawn. It turns into exhausting to see and successfully hangs out close to the solar for just a few months earlier than returning in December.

Pull your sweaters from storage, and get your yard rakes prepared: The Autumnal Equinox — the official astronomical begin to fall — happens Sept. 22 at 9:04 p.m. Eastern time, however on Sept. 23 at 1 a.m. Universal Time, in response to the observatory.

* Sept. 3 — Gaze the heavens on the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. Telescopes are offered by Northern Virginia Astronomy Club (NOVAC) volunteers. Meet on the bus parking zone, however park on the fundamental customer lot. 8-10 p.m. GPS: 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, Va., 20151. NOVAC: shorturl.at/BCDSY. Museum data: shorturl.at/CGS19.

* Sept. 3 — Enjoy stars and some night planets at “Exploring the Sky,” hosted by the National Capital Astronomers at Rock Creek Park, close to the Nature Center. 8 p.m. Face masks non-obligatory. The program shall be canceled if it’s raining or very cloudy. capitalastronomers.org.

* Sept. 9 — “A First Interstellar Probe: Next Step to the Stars,” a lecture by physicist Ralph L. McNutt Jr. of the Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University. He will describe the proposed Interstellar Probe, a doable NASA mission. Hosted by PSW Science. 8 p.m., Powell Auditorium on the Cosmos Club, 2121 Massachusetts Ave. NW. pswscience.org

* Sept. 13 — “Opening the Infrared Treasure Chest with James Webb Space Telescope,” a lecture by Nobel Prize-winning physicist John C. Mather. He will talk about how NASA and its companions constructed the wonderful telescope and can share early discoveries. 8 p.m. Online and on the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly. Detail: shorturl.at/kpU03

* Sept. 24 — Appreciate the starry heavens “Astronomy for Everyone” at Sky Meadows State Park in Fauquier County. NASA Jet Propulsion Lab ambassadors present an astronomy program, whereas NOVAC members will supply telescopic views. 7-10 p.m. GPS: 11012 Edmonds Lane, Delaplane, Va., 20144. Bring garden chairs and blankets. NOVAC: Novac.com. Sky Meadows: shorturl.at/DMX09. Park payment: $10.

Blaine Friedlander will be reached at [email protected].

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