Fall Is In The Air And The Sky
On mornings you can almost “feel” Fall approaching.. We’re on the edge of it.. Yes, there are seasons here in South West Florida and they make their first appearance right around the start of September when the Popash leaves begin falling, and the Pine Lilies start to bloom along the trails at CREW.
Changes come to the sky as well, with the Summer Triangle of bright stars Vega, Deneb and Altair appearing overhead in the form of a triangle of bright stars (see star chart.) Looking to the West, as twilight approaches, the Planets Mars and Saturn are already lost to the glare of the Sun so we won’t be seeing them for awhile.
This apparent sky movement is making way for the bright Winter stars Aldebaran in Taurus on our East Horizon, along with the bright red giant star Betelgeuse in Orion, just peeking through the trees at 3:10am, so before sunrise you have a good opportunity to greet the Winter Constellation of Orion while still being in Summer.
Venus and Jupiter (Star Chart – Click Here)
Look for Jupiter around 1:30am in the constellation of Taurus. Jupiter is beautiful through a telescope and with even a small one you can see four of its 63 moons and even watch them as they slowly orbit around the planet over a period of a few hours.
If you are heading in or out of work in the pre dawn hours, look East to a prominent Venus rising around morning Twilight, and remaining brilliant all month.
On a moonless evenings away from the lights of Lehigh, the milky way is spanning the sky overhead and easy to discern. Look for it the next time you go out on trails or offshore in the evenings. Eratosthenes called it the “Circle of the Galaxy” while other Greek authors knew it as the Galactic Circle. The Galatēa of Homers lIliad, it has been know variously as a road or a “milky way” by people for centuries and looking at it from under a dark sky, it’s easy to see the comparison.
New Moon occurs on September 15 so plan your star gazing around this time. By the time September 29 rolls around, we will be treated to a Harvest Moon rise around 11:18pm. Be sure to find a good horizon to watch the Moon rise.
As we get closer to Fall and Winter, more of the sky will be predictably visible and less cloudy, and there will opportunities for seeing some awesome things through the telescopes at CREW Land and Water Trust. I have Public Observing Schedules up at CREWTrust.org for January, February and March at the Dome trails. Register for the January Star Gazes here http://www.eventbrite.com/event/3972866952/eorg