September 15, 2013

Sky this Month: September 2013

by Mike Meynell

Here is a list of objects to view in the sky in September 2013:

  • Sun Dogs
  • The Moon – Crater Copernicus, Crater Clavius, Vallis Alpes
  • Venus, SaturnJupiter, Mars, Uranus and Neptune
  • M31 Andromeda Galaxy. An easy object to find in the night sky. From the left (eastern-most) corner of the great square of Pegasus (high is the south east at around 11pm), you will see 3 bright stars in a line, all about the same brightness (Alpheratz, Mirach and Almach). From the middle star (Mirach) move up to Mu Andromedae and the same distance again takes you to M31.
  • M13 Great Hercules Cluster. To find M13, find Vega (the western-most of the stars in the Summer Triangle) and Arcturus which is the brilliant orange star that the handle of the Plough points to. Draw a line between these two stars and split it into thirds… a third of the way from Arcturus to Vega is the lovely constellation of Corona Borealis, a faint half-circle of stars. Up a third again and you will get to a lop-sided rectangle called the Keystone. Find the two stars on the western side of this box (the side towards Arcturus) and go to a point halfway between them and aim a little north.
  • M27 Dumbbell Nebula. First, find the Summer Triangle. Find Altair, the southernmost star. Just to the North of Altair is a narrow group of 4 stars – the constellation of Sagita, the Arrow. The leftmost star is the point of the arrow. If the distance between the star in the middle of the arrow to the star at the point is one step, then move your telescope up that distance due north from the arrows point. Nova Delphini is not far from M27.
  • M57 Ring Nebula. Find the Summer Triangle – which is still pretty much overhead at this time of year. Deneb is almost directly overhead at the moment. Point your telescope towards Vega – the brightest star of the three. About half-way between Vega and Albireo, you will see two reasonably bright stars. Between these two stars, you should see the Ring Nebula.

The presentation is shown in the video below. Watch it full screen to see the star maps clearly. Press the spacebar to pause and restart the video. If the video is not displayed correctly below, watch it on Vimeo here.


Posted under: Flamsteed, Sky This Month