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Southern Cross Stargazer for Sept. 25-Nov. 1, 2014

Sunday

By 7:30 p.m., silver Saturn, in Libra, hovers 1 degree above the west-southwestern horizon. The crescent moon floats above the red supergiant star Antares, heart of huge Scorpius creeping along the southwestern horizon. Saturn fades lower right of the moon and sets early. Eastbound Mars lies near the spout of the tilted Sagittarian Teapot pouring onto the Scorpion’s stinger tail. The stellar Teaspoon twinkles upper left of the Teapot in the southwest.

The southern summer constellations will soon disappear. Capricornus, the Sea Goat, wanders into the southwest. Grus, the Crane, stretches its starry neck above the southern horizon. Outer planets dim blue Neptune sails high into the south above Fomalhaut in Aquarius and blue-green Uranus floats across the southeast in Pisces, the Fish. Cetus,the Whale, swims above the southeastern horizon. Aries, the Ram, chases Pegasus, the Winged Horse, to the Zenith.

The Royal Family reigns in the north: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, their daughter Andromeda with our nearest Galaxy, and Perseus, Hero. Hercules leads Vega in Lyra, the Harp, and the vast Summer Triangle westward. Cygnus, the Swan, becomes the Northern Cross within the Triangle. Bright Arcturus sparkles low in the west. The Big Dipper lays on the northwestern horizon.

About 9 p.m. the delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades star cluster) dance in the east and lead Taurus, the Bull, above the eastern horizon. Ruddy Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face). A stunning views in binoculars! Capella guides Auriga, the Charioteer, higher in the northeast. Before midnight lazy Orion, the Hunter, snoozes low in the east.

Wednesday

About 5 a.m. the subtle Zodiacal Light may be visible in the east. The pyramid of translucent refracted sunlight extends above the eastern horizon reflecting off zillions of tiny space debris before dawn. By 6:15 a.m. Mercury shimmers 7 degrees above the star Spica, in Virgo, in the east-southeast.

Bright Jupiter, surrounded by its satellite moons, glows high in the east near Leo, Lion. The Big Dipper rises in the northeast. The Gemini Twins drift overhead followed by the dim Beehive cluster in Cancer, Crab. The Seven Sisters lead Taurus, Bull westward. The Royal Family settles in the northwest. Capella steers the Charioteer across the north. Orion strides high across the south in pursuit of the Bull. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius (nearby star) sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog trotting across the south. Bright Canopus radiates rainbow colors from the ancient ship in the southern hemisphere.

Thursday

First Quarter Moon occurs at 10:48 p.m. and glows in Capricornus in the south.

Saturday

At dusk, Saturn hovers on the southwestern horizon near the setting sun.

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

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