STARS: Llandrillo astronomy buff Brian Woosnam's September guide to the night sky


Brian Woosnam

ASTRONOMY buff Brian Woosnam has been writing his monthly stars column in the North Wales Pioneer's print edition for years.

We are bringing his guide to astronomy in North Wales online for the first time this month, which includes tips and details for events until the end of September.

Autumn’s advance gathers pace as the Sun heads southwards and after the Autumnal Equinox, when the Sun crosses the equator from North to South, which occurs at 03.29am on the 23rd, dark skies will set in from mid-evening.

The Summer Triangle stars Deneb, Vega and Altair are still high a little west of south.

The stars of summer slip towards the west throughout the month as the nights draw in and the sky darkens.

They are replaced by the stars of autumn.

The planets
Mars will to found low in the southwest evening twilight along with the planet Saturn in Libra. Jupiter will be in the eastern pre-dawn sky in Cancer.

The Moon
First quarter Tuesday 2
Full moon Tuesday 9
Last quarter Tuesday 16

The full moon that occurs closest to the equinox is known as Harvest moon and this year it’s the full moon of the 9th September.

Events during September
Monday 1st - look out for the waxing crescent moon, Mars and Saturn low down in the southwest around 9pm BST.

Llandrillo Astronomy Society Observation Night Tuesday 9 - We meet at the Llanelian community centre from 7.30pm anyone can come along and join in.

Entrance is £1, which covers the cost of hiring the hall and a cup of tea or coffee.

Anyone can ask advise on telescopes and any questions they might have about astronomy. Also tonight see the full moon this month is Harvest Moon see above notes.

Thursday 11 - if you have a telescope and like getting up early see if you can spot the planet Uranus as it makes a close pass the moons southern limb from 02.10 BST.

Sunday 14 - the waning gibbous moon is located within the Hyades open cluster in Taurus as it rises around 10.30pm.

Monday 15 - now is a good time to start looking for comet C/2012 K1 Panstarrs which maybe visible in Hydra low in the east as dawn breaks. The comet is on the threshold of naked eye visibility but a pair of binoculars would be best to use.

Wednesday 17 - with the moon out of the way now is a good time to view M31 the Andromeda Galaxy. It will be found about two- thirds of the way up the sky around midnight in the south.

Saturday 20 - North Wales Astronomy star party at Brenig visitors centre LL21 9TT open to the public 6.30pm to 11pm. come along and view the night sky and planets weather permitting. The café will be open for tea and coffee and there will be lectures on during the evening. For more details phone 01492 420463.

Tuesday 23 - today sees the Autumnal Equinox (the Sun crosses the equator from North to South).

Saturday 27 - the waxing crescent moon is 5 degrees west of the planet Saturn this evening spot the pair around 8pm low in the southwest.

Monday 29 - the waxing crescent moon is 5 degrees west of the planet Mars this evening spot the pair around 8pm low in the southwest.

For more information about what’s happening in the night sky this month, visit 

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