Astronomy and sky watching highlights for Charlotte this week.

Thank you to NASA ambassador Tony Rice for providing the weekly Astronomical highlights for Charlotte.

You can connect with Tony right here

Highlights

  • 09/10 Venus will be within 4º of the crescent moon, rising about an hour before sunrise
  • 9/13 There will be a partial solar eclipse beginning at 06:41 UTC but it will be visible only from southern Africa

Planet visibility

body (phase) rise transit (alt) set constellation
Mercury (34%) 09:10:21 14:40:01 (40°) 20:09:22 Virgo
Venus (21%) 04:15:59 10:55:01 (60°) 17:34:11 Cancer
Moon (2%) 08:13:04 14:18:02 (47°) 20:16:34 Virgo
Mars 04:39:02 11:34:02 (64°) 18:28:35 Leo
Saturn 12:43:18 17:40:20 (31°) 22:41:04 Libra
Jupiter 05:51:36 12:26:59 (59°) 19:02:13 Leo

Sample rise/set times for 09/14/15

Satellite passes

International Space Station (ISS)

  • good pass begins Sat 2015-09-12 05:46:50 from the W (268°) reaches 49°, lasts 5 minutes
  • fair pass begins Sun 2015-09-13 04:55:57 from the ENE (56°) reaches 86°, lasts 2 minutes
  • poor pass begins Mon 2015-09-14 05:37:35 from the NW (310°) reaches 26°, lasts 4 minutes
  • poor pass begins Tue 2015-09-15 04:46:34 from the NNE (27°) reaches 42°, lasts 2 minute
  • poor pass begins Tue 2015-09-22 06:33:39 from the NW (326°) reaches 26°, lasts 6 minutes
  • good pass begins Thu 2015-09-24 06:23:05 from the NW (316°) reaches 46°, lasts 6 minutes
  • poor pass begins Fri 2015-09-25 05:31:11 from the NNW (342°) reaches 28°, lasts 4 minutes

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

no visible HST passes predicted during this period

See Heavens Above for the latest pass predictions. Satellite pass gradings are based on altitude reached and duration of pass. Higher altitude passes are closer to the observer and generally brighter as a result. Satellites other than ISS are much more difficult to spot.

Moon Phases

date phase
Mon 2015-09-21 04:59:04 first quarter
Sun 2015-09-27 22:50:30 full
Sun 2015-10-04 17:06:03 last quarter
Mon 2015-10-12 20:05:43 new

Sun

Sunrise/set

Date Rise Solar noon (alt) Set sunlight
Mon 2015-09-14 07:02 13:18 (52.97°) 19:33 12 hrs 31 min
Tue 2015-09-15 07:03 13:18 (52.58°) 19:32 12 hrs 28 min
Wed 2015-09-16 07:04 13:17 (52.20°) 19:30 12 hrs 26 min
Thu 2015-09-17 07:05 13:17 (51.81°) 19:28 12 hrs 23 min
Fri 2015-09-18 07:06 13:17 (51.43°) 19:27 12 hrs 20 min
Sat 2015-09-19 07:07 13:16 (51.04°) 19:25 12 hrs 18 min
Sun 2015-09-20 07:08 13:16 (50.65°) 19:23 12 hrs 15 min
Mon 2015-09-21 07:09 13:16 (50.26°) 19:22 12 hrs 12 min
Tue 2015-09-22 07:10 13:15 (49.87°) 19:20 12 hrs 10 min
Wed 2015-09-23 07:11 13:15 (49.49°) 19:18 12 hrs 7 min
  • lost 0:23:44 (hh:mm:ss) of daylight over this period
  • daylight (HH:MM): 12:19
  • mean: sunrise 07:07 sunset 19:26
  • max: sun angle 52.97°

Twilight

date rise set
Mon 2015-09-14 05:27 21:09
Tue 2015-09-15 05:28 21:07
Wed 2015-09-16 05:30 21:05
Thu 2015-09-17 05:31 21:03
Fri 2015-09-18 05:32 21:01
Sat 2015-09-19 05:33 21:00
Sun 2015-09-20 05:34 20:56
Mon 2015-09-21 05:35 20:54
Tue 2015-09-22 05:36 20:52
Wed 2015-09-23 05:37 20:50

Astronomical Seasons

  • autumnal equinox: Wed 2015-09-23 04:20
  • winter solstice: Mon 2015-12-21 23:47

Meteor Showers

Meteor Showers Underway this period

name rating start peak end zhr* speed (mi/s) quality moon at peak parent body
September Epsilon Perseids minor Sep 05 Wed Sep 09 Sep 21 5 64 faint ↑ Thu 4:27 AM 09/10/15
5% full
↓Thu 6:01 PM
Antihelion Source minor Sep 10 Dec 10 4 30 faint None
Southern Taurids minor Sep 10 Sat Oct 10 Nov 20 5 27 bright ↑ Sun 5:58 AM 10/11/15
1% full
↓Sun 6:12 PM

Next Major Meteor Showers

name rating start peak end zhr* speed (mi/s) quality moon at peak parent body
Geminids major Dec 07 Sun Dec 13 Dec 17 120 35 medium ↑ Mon 9:39 AM 12/14/15
7% full
↓Sun 7:29 PM
C/1964 N1 (Ikeya)

see: International Meteor Organization calendar for details. ZHR is a rough prediction and represents optimal viewing conditions (clear dark sky, radiant directly overhead). Green rows are the best viewing

History

  • Sep 14 Launch of Kaguya, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) first lunar orbiter, from the Tanegashima Space Center. Officially named SELENE (SELenological and ENgineering Explorer), Kaguya spent twenty months mapping the Moon’s surface to understand lunar origins and search polar craters for signs of lunar ice. The mission ended on June 10, 2009, when the three-ton probe intentionally impacted the Moon. 8 years ago
  • Sep 14 Launch of Venera 12, a partially-successful Venus soft lander. 37 years ago
  • Sep 19 A major earthquake struck Mexico City. 30 years ago
  • Sep 19 Launch of Chandrayaan-1, India’s first moon mission, Contact with the spacecraft was lost halfway through the planned two year mission. 7 years ago
  • Sep 20 Launch of the High-Energy Astronomical Observatory (HEAO) 3 satellite, designed to study gamma and cosmic rays. 36 years ago
  • Sep 21 After a very successful mission, the Galileo orbiter was deliberately de-orbited into the atmosphere of Jupiter. 12 years ago
  • Sep 22 Pioneer 10 became the first of four spacecraft now considered to have “left the Solar System.” Launched in March, 1972, Pioneer 10 was designed for a 21-month mission. It remained in contact for more than thirty years! 25 years ago
  • Sep 23 Johann Galle & Urbain Le Verrier discovered Neptune 169 years ago

Covers Mon 2015-09-14 01:00 through Thu 2015-09-24 01:00 . Calculations are for Charlotte, NC (40.3690,-80.6330) at an elevation of 215 m and are expressed in local (US/Eastern) time and a 24 hour clock.

  • Billy Newman

    This is a great list, I am putting together a calendar of stargazing events for 2016 – looking forward to watching mars move across the sky this spring and summer.