This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2022 September 3 – 10
~by Curt Nason
Technically, any three stars in the sky will form some sort of a triangle, but there are those that stand out. Overhead in early evening is the best known celestial threesome, the isosceles Summer Triangle of Vega, Deneb and Altair. Straddling the Milky Way, each star is the brightest in their respective constellations of Lyra the Harp, Cygnus the Swan and Aquila the Eagle. An ancient tale of Eastern mythology depicted Vega and Altair as lovers separated by a river (the Milky Way). I look at them as an updated version of that tale, that of Running Bear and White Dove in the Johnny Preston hit written by the Big Bopper, J.P. Richardson. The Big Bopper would be a good name for a constellation.
With the Summer Triangle overhead, the constellation Triangulum the Triangle is low in the east below Andromeda. Known as a constellation for thousands of years, it has been said to represent, among other things, the Nile Delta and the island of Sicily. If you have a dark sky, use binoculars to look about a third of the way and a tad to the right, between the tip of Triangulum and the orange star Mirach in Andromeda above, to see the face-on spiral galaxy M33.
Now that summer is fading, and if you can’t wait for winter, just look to the east in morning darkness for the Winter Triangle. Orange Betelgeuse in Orion’s armpit joins with Orion’s companion Dog Stars of Sirius and Procyon to form an equilateral triangle. All three stars make the top ten in brightness.
This Week in the Solar System
Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 6:42 am and sunset will occur at 7:53 pm, giving 13 hours, 11 minutes of daylight (6:48 am and 7:57 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 6:51 am and set at 7:40 pm, giving 12 hours, 49 minutes of daylight (6:56 am and 7:44 pm in Saint John).
The Moon is at first quarter on Saturday and it is full next Saturday, the Harvest Moon. Mercury is dimming and setting half an hour after sunset, making it a difficult planet to see with binoculars. Saturn is at its highest and best for observing around 11:30 this week. Jupiter rises around 8:20 pm midweek and telescope users might see its Red Spot around 9 pm Wednesday. Mars is now brighter than any star except Sirius, and its disc is large enough for observing some telescopic features under very good conditions. Rising around 11 pm, it is seen best in early morning within a binocular view of similarly hued Aldebaran in Taurus. Venus is close to Regulus in Leo on Monday morning.
The RASC NB Fundy Park Stargaze takes place on Friday and Saturday, September 2-3. For information on activities, admission and location visit RASC NB Fundy Stargaze.
Questions? Contact Curt Nason.