Treats and Celestial Delights During Libra
For the Northern Hemisphere
September 22 - October
times are local unless
Sunset Planets Are Sinking Away
Mercury's Horizon from MESSENGER
is Swallowed by the Sun!
Luna Sheds Light on Our Harvest
Dances 10/7-11/5 Under Construction
Night Sky ~ Home Page
Jupiter: + Two Red Spots – One Stripe + One Moon
Jupiter Is at Its Best! ~ Closest, Biggest, Brightest
Jupiter and Io | August 30, 2010, 5:38 UT
Io lies to the upper right.
is extraordinary for several reasons.
Every 13 months Jupiter lies opposite the Sun. During opposition the
planet can be seen in the night sky at its closest, biggest and brightest
from sunset to sunrise. In
2010 Jupiter’s exact opposition occurs September 21 at 5:00am PDT (12:00 UT).
The change in Jupiter’s
brightness and size is negligible for a couple of weeks before and
after this date, so one has plenty of time to see the planet's BEST
performance in years.
Jupiter is brighter and bigger in 2010 than it has been since 1963
be until 2022!
March, Jupiter reaches perihelion — the closest point to the
Sun during its 12-year orbit — so it lies closer to Earth
at this opposition than at a typical one. In fact, this is Jupiter's
finest appearance in 47 years. Astronomy Magazine 09/10
and Jupiter do not orbit the sun in perfect circles, they are not
always the same distance apart when Earth passes by. On Sept.
20th, Jupiter will be as much as 75 million km closer than
and will not be this close again until 2022. NASA Science News
As seen in Alan Friedman’s photo above, Jupiter’s Great
Red Spot pairs up with Red Spot Jr., also known as Oval BA, which
birthed it. These Red Spots are HUGE swirling storms. GRS is almost
twice the diameter of Earth, making GRS Jr. almost one Earth-diameter
across. A telescope reveals their “perhaps too close for comfort” engagement
now. Will Red Spot Jr. survive this intimacy?
Also seen or shall I say not seen in Alan Friedman’s photo
above, is Jupiter’s missing stripe the SEB [South Equatorial
Belt], which disappeared in May 2010! When will it reappear? Telescopic
eyes of every size are keeping watch!
In addition, Jupiter at its best is in close proximity to Uranus
its best! With a telescope or binoculars one can see a special 2-for-one
In a dark country sky with binoculars, one can view Jupiter’s
four Galilean Moons, its largest and brightest satellites. They appear
starlike on either side of the planet. With a telescope you just
might see one of these cast a shadow on the Jovian cloud tops.
more! Amateur astronomers are reporting a surprising number of fireballs
exploding in Jupiter’s atmosphere! Who will glimpse the next one?
is extraordinary now! Look Up! Click Closest
Encounter with Jupiter until 2022 to learn more from NASA.
having just reached opposition September
21, gives night sky travelers a BEST performance during Libra. Look
Up! The King of Planets at magnitude -2.9
is the brightest point of light in the night sky after Venus sets. Jupiter's
brilliance is easily seen in
the southeast not long after sunset. The
planet travels high above the southern horizon
as the night progresses, setting in the west at 6:30am
in the beginning
of Libra and at 5:00am by its end.
and Uranus remain near one another all through 2010. Their easterly
(prograde) and westerly (retrograde) motion have brought them
particularly close, in an exact conjunction, June
8 and September 18/19.
Their final close encounter occurs January 4,
2011. Jupiter is retrograde 7/23-11/17.
Uranus is retrograde 7/5-12/4.
Libra, in the dim constellation of Pisces, both Jupiter and Uranus
are at their closest, biggest and brightest for 2010. Uranus
at magnitude 5.7
is now easily seen with binoculars and without an optical aid
in a dark sky.
and Jupiter, in close proximity to each other, are also in close proximity
to the Harvest Full Moon. 9/23
9pm Map Click Moon
Dances for an additional map and meditative reflections.
~ The Fun To Watch Planet
Times of Jupiter's Great Red Spot
Printable Great Red Spot Transit Table 2010-2011
locate Jupiter’s four brightest satellites anytime
between January 1900–December 2100.
It also lists the satellite phenomena for the chosen day.
Jupiter's 4 Galilean Moons
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Venus and Mars are
sinking in altitude toward the light of the setting Sun. Venus sets
at the beginning of Libra at 8:00pm and Mars 30 minutes later. At
the end of Libra, Venus sets with the Sun and Mars sets about 45
minutes after sunset. Venus is retrograde October
8-November 17 and in inferior
conjunction October 28.
moving closer to Earth, is growing bigger and brighter; at magnitude -4.8
the planet pierces the twilit sky and briefly blazes low on the southwestern
moving away from Earth, is gradually diminishing in size and brightness;
at magnitude 1.5
it is challenging to see at dusk.
planetary pair reside in
the constellation Libra, near the star Zubenelgenubi (zoo-BEN-al-je-NEW-bee)
. These 3 celestial bodies form a difficult to see shapeshifting
triangle in the southwest just after sunset. Zubenelgenubi at magnitude 2.7
is quite a bit dimmer than the planets and may be impossible to see
without the right optical aid. Best viewing opportunities occur in
September if you have clear
skies, an unobstructed horizon and right timing; binoculars are helpful
in drawing these celestial bodies out of the twilight. October viewing
is more challenging as the planets sink lower and set earlier. The
further south your location the higher these planets appear.
Thursday, Venus is at its greatest brilliancy, setting an hour after
the Sun. 9/23
7:30pm Map (The Zuben-star lies above and closest to Venus.)
Friday, Venus and Mars are in close proximity. 10/1
7:30pm Map by Sunday October 3 Venus
and Mars are in exact conjunction.
Saturday, young Luna nestles between Venus and Mars. 10/9
Map (Mars lies to the left of the Zuben-star.) Click Moon
Dances for meditative reflections.
~ Venus and Mars
Mars are in exact conjunction three times within nine months: August
20/21, 2010, October 3, 2010, May 22, 2011.
are in a nine month passage that spans three conjunctions of Venus
and Mars. ... Although Venus and Mars conjunct about every two
years, this cycle of three conjunctions occurs about every 6 1/2
years. A potential for personal metamorphosis in establishing a
more intimate and authentic relationship between your core self
and the ingrained patterns of behavior of your conscious ego.
retrograde cycle [10/8-11/17] is integral to this dynamic.
August through November, our attention is brought towards evaluating
our relationships. Relationships with everyone (spouse,
lover, friend, co-worker, boss, government) and everything (money,
food, sexuality, possessions, emotional attachments, endless list
here). Strategic engagement, negotiations, love and grace. Passion,
life force, regeneration and healing. Deeper connection. Transformation. Jacqueline
Lasahn / AstroFlash!
Has Phases Like the Moon
see these phases and more in this Venus
2010 Animation. As Venus gets closer to Earth and bigger in disk,
size its illuminated phase decreases; during Libra Venus wanes from
a 27% - 2% illuminated Crescent. You can see this demonstrated in APOD's
animation of the phases of Venus and in this montage.
the Phase & Apparent Disk Size of Venus
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Mercury's Horizon from MESSENGER - 2008 January 21
above is the limb of Mercury seen
by MESSENGER upon
approach, from about 1 1/2 Earth diameters
away. Visible on the hot and barren planet are many craters, many
appeared to be more shallow than similarly sized craters on the
Moon. The comparatively high gravity of
Mercury helps flatten tall
structures like high crater walls. MESSENGER was
able to take over 1,000 images of Mercury which will be beamed
back to Earth for planetary
geologists to study. The robotic MESSENGER spacecraft is scheduled to
fly past Mercury twice more before firing its thrusters to enter
orbit in 2011.
2008 January 21 Check out the Current
Astronomy Picture of the Day.
with each new day, however it is now sinking back toward the sunrise
horizon having achieved greatest
elongation, and a best morning performance September
the beginning of Libra elusive Mercury rises at 5:45am. October
1 the planet lies 5 degrees above
the eastern horizon and can be seen piercing the morning twilight 30
minutes before sunrise.
the first week of October Mercury rapidly
sinks out of sight. By October 16 the
planet is in superior
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swallowed by sunlight during Libra and is in exact conjunction with
our central luminary September 30. It
is in the process of switching horizons now. The planet reappears in
the morning sky shortly before dawn as Libra comes to an end, however
easier viewing of sunrise Saturn occurs at the end
a planet? ... What planet? When you look up at the night sky, how do you
know you are looking at a planet? Learn
what a plutoid is. Click
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the name given to the Full Moon closest to the autumn
equinox therefore, the Harvest Moon can occur in September
or October. This year it occurs September
2:17am PDT (09:17 UT)
just 6 hours after the September 22 equinox.
Harvest Full Moon rises as the Sun is setting.
A Full Moon
near the autumn equinox lies low in the south along an ecliptic that
forms a very shallow angle to the horizon. This results in the Moon
rising very quickly around the time of sunset ... also rising only
20 to 30 minutes between consecutive moonrises instead of the typical
50 minutes. Before electricity this additional light late into the
evening allowed farmers more time to gather their harvest. For latitudes
farther north the effect is more pronounced with less time between
moonrises each night. It is not surprising that the name "Harvest Moon" originated
in the northern European latitudes.
Moon because of its closer angle to the horizon appears to loom extra
large when it rises ... a well known illusion. In fact the Moon is
actually closer to the Earth when it is highest in the sky!
experiment as you watch the Moon rise from the horizon to overhead.
Place your thumb and index finger a pencil width apart, at armís length.
You should always be able to fit the Moon between your fingers no matter
where it is! The Moon will always look bigger next to objects than
when it is seen overhead in a dark sky.
With The Harvest Moon Illusion
1-minute Star Gazer video
Moon Images: Michael
Harvest Moon Nights?!
it out September 21-25! Traditionally
the Harvest Moon lasts more than one night. It includes the two almost
Full Moons two nights before the official Full Moon and the two almost
full Moons two nights after. Note: These
5 rising Moons tend to be more colorful because we see them through
a thicker atmosphere than when they are overhead. The more polluted
the atmosphere the more Luna blushes! A large, colorful Luna for 5
nights is definitely a treat to be harvested!
the fifth brightest star lies overhead during the first
few weeks of autumn between 8:00pm and 9:00pm. Learn more about this "super
bright star" in
the fun and informative 5-minute
Star Gazer Video.
is the western star of the Summer
Triangle and when Vega is above
your head, our brightest star Sirius is below
your feet! ;-) When Vega sets in the west between 4:30am and 3:30am
during the first few weeks of autumn, Sirius is rises in the east.
first time in almost 20 years, northern autumn is beginning on the
night of a full Moon. The coincidence sets the stage for a "Super
Harvest Moon" and a must-see sky show to mark the change of seasons.
begins at sunset on Sept 22nd, the last day of northern summer. As
the sun sinks in the west, bringing the season to a close, the full
Harvest Moon will rise in the east, heralding the start of fall. The
two sources of light will mix together to create a kind of 360-degree,
summer-autumn twilight glow that is only seen on rare occasions. Full
and Uranus, in exact conjunction September 18/19,
in close proximity to each other and to the Harvest Full Moon.
9pm Map Jupiter, a beacon of light,
shines brighter and larger September 21 than
it has anytime since October
1963! Jupiter is at its best now. In fact, a couple of weeks
before or after the Harvest Full Moon its change in brightness and
size are negligible. Uranus is also at its
brightest and biggest for the year the same day Jupiter is, making
Uranus a naked eye and binocular celestial
object in dark skies
than a telescopic one! 9/21
9pm Map Click Moon
Dances for a map and meditative reflections. BTW: The
night of the Harvest Full Moon, September 23,
sunset Venus is at greatest brilliancy, magnitude -4.8. 9/23
the light grid of planet Earth by participating in any of the following
global meditations during this time.
Day of Peace Vigil
Join us at SouledOut.org in holding a meditative space
between 9:00pm and 9:15pm
Pacific Time. Sound
The Great Invocation at both the beginning and
end of this time period. Participate during
designated time or as you are inspired.
Moon: Thursday, September 23
SouledOut.org invites you to participate in the
Clarity of Purpose Global Meditation During Libra
We at SouledOut.org are meditating the preceding night,
Wednesday, September 22 at 9:00pm PDT (04:00 UT 9/23).
this time or as you are inspired.
Meditations ~ Autumn Equinox
your harvest be delicious and bountiful.
May it serve the greatest good!
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Sky Lights ~ Libra
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May your Night Sky traveling always be filled
with Celestial Delights and Treats!