September Sky

Here’s an idea to get you out of the house, take a short trip, and practice social distancing all at the same time. Since travel has been curtailed for so many, why not take a drive far out into the country for some stargazing?

September Sky Events:
For most accurate viewing times see your local astronomy guide or weather almanac.
In general, the best viewing on dates prior to September 17 is before sunrise.
• September 2 Corn Moon, every 3 years, September’s full moon is called a Corn Moon
• September 5 Mars & Jupiter, south of the moon
• September 9 Aldebaran (a giant star), south of the moon
• September 13 Venus, also south of the moon
In general, the best viewing on dates after September 17 is after sunset.
• September 17 New Moon
• September 24 Jupiter, north of the moon
• September 25 Saturn, north of the moon
• September 29 – October 28 Mars is predicted to shine brighter than Jupiter.
Observation will be better for viewers in the northern hemisphere.

Deep in the country, far from city lights,
stars sparkle like diamonds in a black velvet sky.

For best viewing opportunities in your vicinity:
• Check with your local planetarium or stargazing club.
• Locate your nearest observatory.
Observatories are usually far away from city light pollution and provide an opportune place to view the night sky. If you’ve never ventured into the country before, these might offer you a feeling of safety. Follow their guidelines. Be respectful of others.

For additional help to find what you’re looking for in the night sky, consider an app such as: Sky Safari, Star Walk, SkyGuide, or Stellarium

Tips for a good stargazing adventure:
• Prepare ahead of time. During daylight hours before your adventure, take a drive far out into the country miles away from city light pollution to choose your safe viewing location.
• Binoculars or a telescope are helpful.
• Prepare snacks or buy take-out for a late-night picnic (or very early breakfast).
Set up your picnic on the car hood or in the open trunk of your vehicle.
Don’t picnic on the ground in unfamiliar territory or in deep grass (cuz you know, snakes).
• Shut off all lights and allow your eyes to adjust to the star glow.
Red-light flashlights would be the only acceptable light that doesn’t interfere.

This is one adventure that shouldn’t be any problem to practice social distancing.
Unless, of course, you’re worried about cows or wildlife.

Do you have a favorite planetarium, observatory or stargazing club? Tell me about them. Or tell me about your stargazing adventures in the comments below.

Until next time . . . Travel Light,

© 2020 SuZan Klassen

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