Sky at a Glance 2022 September 17 – 24

Photo showing location of the small constellation Lacerta the Lizard located between Cassiopeia and Cygnus.

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2022 September 17 – 24
~by Curt Nason

Salamanders aren’t the most noticeable of critters; you usually have to make an effort to find one. This is a good time to locate the obscure constellation of Lacerta the Lizard, but it will take some effort and a dark sky.

Camouflaged partly by the Milky Way, Lacerta is surrounded by Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Pegasus and Cygnus. A good pointer to it is the base of the Summer Triangle. Running a line from bright Vega to Deneb at the tail of Cygnus and extending it about the same distance puts you near the zigzag shape of the lizard. It is one of those dim constellations created in the late 17th century by Johannes Hevelius to fill in an “empty” section of the sky. At first he named it Stellio; a stellion is a newt with star-like spots found near the Mediterranean Sea. If you manage to catch Lacerta, give yourself a pat on the back and let it go.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 6:59 am and sunset will occur at 7:26 pm, giving 12 hours, 27 minutes of daylight (7:05 am and 7:31 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 7:08 am and set at 7:12 pm, giving 12 hours, 4 minutes of daylight (7:13 am and 7:17 pm in Saint John). The autumnal equinox occurs at 10:04 pm on Thursday.

The Moon is at third quarter this Saturday, rising by 11:15 pm and setting around 4 pm Sunday. Saturn is at its highest and best for observing in late evening, and Jupiter rises 20 minutes after sunset this weekend. Telescope users might see Jupiter’s Red Spot around 9 pm on Monday and 10:30 pm on Thursday. Mars is highest around 6:30 am this weekend, to the lower right of the Moon. Venus rises an hour before sunrise, while Mercury is at inferior conjunction on Friday.

Join members of RASC NB for public observing at the Kouchibouguac Fall Star Fest on September 23-24.

Questions? Contact Curt Nason.

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