September, 2016 Programs
#1 — THE SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS
Locate the mythical figures in the current sky above Lincoln, and learn their legends. Then, weather permitting, take a guided tour of the sky on the terrace behind the observatory with one of our volunteers who will show you how to locate the important stars and objects in the current night sky. Running time: 19 minutes.
#2 — EXPLORE MARS
Mars is in our night sky, very far away, and tiny even in telescopes. But it has been probed and explored up close by satellites orbiting it and rovers roaming its surface. Explore Mars pulls together some of the most exciting recent discoveries about the red planet. Running time: 21 minutes.
September Objects in the Hyde Telescopes
Jupiter, which dominated the evening sky during the summer, is now dropping into the solar glare at sunset, and will emerge into the predawn sky in early October, so it is lost to the Hyde telescopes until next year. Saturn and Mars are both moving eastward against the background stars, so they are managing to stay visible despite the fact that the whole sky, them included, is rotating towards the west. Mars, much closer to Earth, is pulling eastward faster than Saturn, moving from a position close to the red star Antares where it has been all summer, leftward into the constellation Sagittarius. At the same time, it is pulling farther away from Earth, growing smaller and fainter, making it almost impossible to pick out surface features in an earth-based telescope. Saturn is crawling much slower towards the east, losing ground and appearing lower in the southwest with each passing day in September. Still, with its rings open almost to maximum at 26 degrees, it continues to put on a good show.
The Moon The best time to view the moon in the Hyde telescopes this month will be on the night of September 10, just after First Quarter. A thin crescent will be visible just to the north of Venus on the 3rd, but it is too low to catch from the observing deck, though the Venus-Moon pair should be beautiful to the naked eye. Full moon occurs on September 16, which means that on September 17 public night, the moon will be just past full — not a very good time to view it because few surface features will be casting shadows. The moon will be out of the evening sky on the 24th.
Deep sky objects (stars, galaxies and nebulae) will be on full display in September, particularly on the nights of September 3 and 24, when the moon is not bright in the evening sky.