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Skywatch: What's happening in the heavens in September



The quartet of planets that saunter across the southern evening stage provides a heavenly spectacle for dog walkers, after-work joggers and sky aficionados.

Venus in the west-southwestern sky at sunset, as the month starts. You can not miss our intense bright planetary neighbor, lakes at -4.6 magnitude, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory. Moving on from Venus, look for the large, gaseous Jupiter Lounging in the southwest at dusk. It's a bright -1

.9 magnitude now, but throughout the month, it will appear to get lower. At month's end, Jupiter wants to set around 9 pm, according to the observatory.

Next in line, making our way east, catch the large Saturn in the south in the early evening, hanging out above the teapot's dome shape in the constellation Sagittarius . Jupiter or Venus.

The rusty-looking Mars ascends the south-southeast in the early evening. Mars started rising about a few hours before the end of civil twilight. In clear skies, you may notice the reddish color. [-2655] Like a stone skipping across a pond, the magical, waxing crescent moon appears to hover over Venus – low on the horizon – on Sept. 12 in the west-southwest. The moon skips to Jupiter's proximity in the southwest Sept. 13 and 14, then pays a social call to Saturn on Sept. 16 and 17. The fattening, waxing gibbous moon skips by Mars on Sept. 19, and the moon becomes becomes full Sept 24.

Balancing day and night, the autumnal equinox if on Sept. 22 at 9:54 pm for the eastern United States, according to the observatory. Just a few days past the equinox, Washington wants to see a near even 12 hours and two minutes of daylight on Sept. 25. The next day, the area sees 11 hours and 59 minutes of daylight.

Down-to-earth events

● Sept. 5 – "The Upcoming Apparition of Comet Wirtanen," a talk by research scientist Lori Feaga, at the University of Maryland's Observatory open house at College Park. The comet wants to visit our neighborhood in mid-December. After the talk, revel in the planetary parade with telescopes, weather permitting. 9 p.m. www.astro.umd.edu/openhouse

●Sept. 7 – "Aeronautical Beginnings: The Science of Ballooning During the Civil War," a lecture by James L. Green, chief scientist at NASA. Hosted by the Philosophical Society of Washington. At the Powell Auditorium at the Cosmos Club, 2170 Florida Ave. NW. 8 p.m. www.philsoc.org

● Sept. 8 – "High Energy Neutrinos Detected by the Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory," by Erik Blaufuss, a Physicist at the University of Maryland, at the National Capital Astronomers Regular Meeting, held at the University of Maryland Observatory, College Park , 7:30 p.m. capitalastronomers.org

● Sept. 9 – "NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office," a talk by Lindley Johnson, NASA's planetary defense officer, and Kelly Fast, NASA's Near-Earth Object Observation program manager. The talk will be at the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club Meeting, 163 Research Hall, George Mason University. 7 p.m. novac.com

● Sept. 10 – "Stars Tonight" at the David M. Brown Planetarium, 1426 N. Quincy St., Arlington, adjacent to Washington-Lee High School. 7:30 p.m. $ Third friendsoftheplanetarium.org

● Sept. 15 – "Mayan Astronomy," a program at the Montgomery College Planetarium, Takoma Park. 7 p.m. goo.gl/q9iwrS

●Sept. 20 – "Black Holes and Ripples at Spacetime," a talk by Cole Miller, astronomy professor, at the University of Maryland's Observatory open house in College Park. View the planets and stars through telescopes, weather permitting. 9 p.m. www.astro.umd.edu/openhouse

●Sept. 30 – Tour the night heavens at the Lake Artemesia Natural Area, at Berwyn Road and 55th Ave., Berwyn Heights. The event is hosted by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Park at the area's north end. 7 p.m. goo.gl/LPqDhy

Blaine Friedlander can be reached at PostSkyWatch@yahoo.com.


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