Southern Cross Stargazer for Sept. 15-21, 2013



Before 8 p.m. the bright moon floats across the stars of Capricornus, Sea Goat, in the south-southeast. Dim blue Neptune sails into the southeast above the star Fomalhaut. Brilliant Venus glows about 25 degrees above the southwestern horizon. Silver Saturn lies about 7 degrees above Venus. They set about 9:30 p.m. Spica, in Virgo, hugs the southwestern horizon. Huge Scorpius crawls into the southwest. Bright Antares (red supergiant) is the heart in the Scorpion's torso. Two star clusters shimmer above the stinger tail.

In the south, the tilted Sagittarian Teapot “pours”onto the Scorpion's tail. Pluto hides above the lid of the Teapot. Binoculars reveal a myriad of star clusters, nebulas in the south, center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Ruddy Arcturus sparkles in the northwest. Hercules leads Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the vast Summer Triangle overhead. Cygnus, Swan, soars within the Triangle. Binoculars reveal a colorful double star that marks the Swan's eye. Mid-evening the Royal Family arrives in the northeast. Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus (Winged Horse) higher in the east. Blue-green Uranus rises in the southeast in Pisces, Fish.


Bright golden Jupiter, surrounded by its satellite moons, appears by 2 a.m. in the east on the right of the Gemini Twins: Castor and Pollux. The dim Beehive star cluster shimmers below the Twins. About 3 a.m. Mars rises below the Twins. By 6 a.m. the delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) lead Taurus, Bull westward. Aldebaran (Bull's red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull's face). Orion, Hunter, climbs toward the Zenith, followed by Procyon, Little Dog, in the east. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion's Big Dog in the southeast. The Royal Family reigns in the north. At dawn ruddy Mars leads Leo, Lion above the eastern horizon.


By nightfall Venus and Saturn are closest, 3.5 degrees apart, in the southwest.


The Harvest Moon is full at 7:13 a.m. Tonight the huge moon rises in the southeast near the Circlet in Pisces, between Uranus and Neptune.


Southern Cross Astros return to FIU’s physics lecture hall at 8 p.m. Dr. James R. Webb will present Reach for the Stars, an illustration of the construction series of the campus’ new observatory, space ship interior and facility for the telescope he designed. Grand opening is planned for mid-November. The free SCAS program includes prizes and refreshments. Park in the campus Red Garage on the west side of Southwest 109th Avenue and Eighth Street and follow SCAS signs across the new patio to CP-145 lecture hall. Accessible to the disabled.

Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375,

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