Southern Cross Stargazer for Sept. 22-28, 2013



The Autumnal Equinox occurs at 4:44 p.m. as the southbound sun crosses the equator. Northern Hemisphere enjoys a cool and colorful season. South Florida welcomes subtle temperature cooling, variety of clouds and softer patterns of morning light and shadows. The Southern Hemisphere welcomes spring. The sun rises due east and sets due west. Drive cautiously on east-west roads.

By 8 p.m. brilliant Venus, Evening Star, in Libra, lies 6 degrees left of silver Saturn fading in the southwest. Spica, in Virgo, meets Mercury, 1.7 degrees apart, near the southwestern horizon. The tilted Sagittarian Teapot pours onto the stinger tail of huge Scorpius in the southwest. Aim binoculars to two star clusters shimmering above the Scorpio’s tail. Capricornus, Sea Goat, wanders into the south. Dim blue Neptune sails across the southeast in Aquarius above the star Fomalhaut. Mid-evening blue-green Uranus rises in the southeast in Pisces, Fish. Aries, Ram chases the Great Square of Pegasus (Winged Horse) higher in the east. The Royal Family arrives in the northeast. The delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) dance on the east-northeastern horizon. Bright Capella rises in the northeast. Westbound Hercules leads Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the Summer Triangle overhead. Cygnus, Swan soars within the Triangle. The Summer Milky Way arches from the Teapot to the Triangle. Bright Arcturus, Herdsman, sparkles in the northwest. The Big Dipper swings low in the northwest.


By 6 a.m. a bright waning moon floats between two clusters: Seven Sisters (Pleiades) and the V-shaped Hyades cluster in the west. The Big Dipper appears in the northeast. Bright Jupiter and its satellite moons float high in the east to the right of the Gemini Twins.: Castor and Pollux. Ruddy Mars climbs above the eastern horizon beside Leo, Lion. Orion, Hunter strides toward the Zenith followed by Procyon, Little Dog. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog in the southeast. The Royal Family drifts into the northwest. Bright Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, across the north.

By nightfall, Mercury lies 0.7 degrees above Spica descending onto the southwestern horizon..


Last quarter moon occurs 11:55 p.m. and rises after midnight in Taurus, Bull.


In the predawn, the waning moon rises below Jupiter.

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

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