Photo Credit & Copyright: My attempt at imaging the 2,159 mile wide low albedo rock 240,000 miles away that’s lit by the nearly million mile wide fusion reactor 93 million miles away in the other direction.
Below I have listed most of the major night sky events for this month, birthdays, events in history etc. I have also listed all resources used to generate these monthly calendars at the bottom of the post so dig in, learn and enjoy! Also; if you notice something that I didn’t add that you think should be here, or if something’s incorrect definitely let me know!
Here’s a list of major 2015 Celestial Events here: https://danspace77.com/2015-celestial-events/
Interested in Planetary Motions for 2015? Here ya go!: https://danspace77.com/2015-planetary-motions/
How about Meteor Showers for 2015? https://danspace77.com/2015-meteor-showers/
WERE YOU BORN ON A FULL MOON?! This great page from Moon Giant shows you what phase the Moon was in when you were born; check it out. (This may not work on your phone): http://www.moongiant.com/birthday_moon/
All dates and times were calculated using Military Time & Universal Time (UTC) and I also throw in eastern U.S. time (EST or EDT depending on whether its Daylight Savings or not) but beware, early morning events for UTC will actually likely be late night events on the previous date for the US. For example if something is scheduled to occur at 02:00 UTC on the 14th, that’s 21:00 EST on the 13th.
Another important thing to remember is that a calendar day is actually daylight sandwiched between two darks so when an event says, March 29 for example, you’ve got to check the time because March 29 could very well be in the morning before sunrise and not that coming night.
Finally, calculating events on the Moon is that it’s not as simple as “Ok it’s 40% illuminated so we should see this.” I wish it was that easy but because of libration, locations on the disk of the moon move slightly as we see them. One month an event could occur at 52% illumination and the next month it could occur at 54% illumination etc.
SEPTEMBER 01 (Tue) – Entering the month the Moon is 18 days old in its 29.53 day Synodic Cycle and 90% illuminated in its waxing gibbous phase.
SEPTEMBER 01 (Tue) My single favorite phase of the Moon occurs around 95 % illumination just after full phase. I call it the “Full Crater Chain” and it’s when the terminator runs right through Mare Crisium. The chain runs up through Cleomedes, Burckhardt, Geminus, Messala, Endymion and even more impressively below Crisium through Langrenus, Vendelinus, Petavius and Furnerius. If you catch it just right you can enjoy a secondary treat as Petavius’s central peak becomes illuminated and shines alone in the darkness of the crater itself. (NOTE: With libration it may not form properly month to month.).
September 2, 1908: Birth of Valentin Glushko.
September 2, 1948: Birth of Christa McAuliffe.
September 3, 1976: Viking 2 lander touches down on the surface of Mars.
SEPTEMBER 05 (Sat) – Last Quarter (3rd Quarter) Moon occurs this month at 09:54 UTC (05:54 EDT). Though the quarters of the Moon occur at exact times, as far as viewing goes you can call it the entire night and be close enough.
SEPTEMBER 05 (Sat) – The brilliant Walther Sunset Ray will occur around 22:27 UTC (16:27 EDT). Located in the ancient 145 kilometer (90 mile) Necterian age crater named Walther (Formerly Walter or Valtherus) is a special treat that occurs monthly for a matter of a few hours when illumination is around 44%. On the western rim of the crater there’s a notch and when the Sun is setting low on the lunar horizon (When the crater is near the terminator) light penetrates the notch, creating a vast triangle or “V” shaped light ray across the craters floor that ends as it illuminates the central peak of the crater. Walther Crater a heavily eroded crater located in the Lunar Southern Highlands at the Selenographic Coordinates (Definition below) of Latitude: 33.1°S / Longitude: 1.0°E. It’s named after German astronomer Bernhard Walther. This crater also has a sunrise ray that instead of a light ray is a long shadow cast by the central peak.
September 5, 1977: Launch of Voyager 1.
SEPTEMBER 06 (Sun) – Pico Mons Sunset. The day of or day after last quarter (around 50% illuminated) the setting Sun hits Pico Mons in Mare Imbrium, near Crater Plato and casts a long shadow along the lunar plains.
SEPTEMBER 06 (Sun) – Sunset on the lunar scarp; Rupes Recta or the “Straight Wall” is visible about the day of or day after last quarter (about 45-50% illuminated) the setting Sun causes it to look white as it illuminates the slope. Two weeks later, during lunar sunrise after first quarter it will appear black.
SEPTEMBER 06 (Sun) – 20 (Sun) As of Sunday the 6th we are on the verge of September’s new moon (Lunation 1147). This week presents nights that are the absolute BEST nights to get out and observe Deep Sky Objects (DSOs) because you won’t have to look through the spotlight that is the Moon. Night skies without the Moon are significantly more productive for viewing and photography ANY night sky object (besides the Moon itself of course). For the lucky ones, this week offers the amazing spectacle of the extreme crescent moon, both waning in the east & waxing in the west.
SEPTEMBER 06 (Sun) – The Moon reaches its Greatest Northern Declination of +18.09degrees.
SEPTEMBER 07 (Mon) – The CURTISS CROSS, is a creation of shadows throughout craters Gambart and Parry which create an “X” shaped formation and will occur around 03:45 UTC (23:45 EDT on the 6th). The Curtiss Cross is associated with the third (last) quarter Moon and forms about 14 hours past the third quarter mark.
September 7, 1914: Birth of James Van Allen.
September 11, 2001:
September 11, 1937: Birth of NASA astronaut Bob Grippen.
September 12, 1962: JFK Rice University speech.
SEPTEMBER 13 (Sun) – New Moon (LUNATION 1147) occurs at 06:40 UTC (02:40 EDT). Though the quarters of the Moon occur at exact times, as far as viewing goes you can call it the entire night and be close enough.
September 13, 1974: SR-71 London to Los Angeles in 3 hr. 47 min.
SEPTEMBER 14 (Mon) – The Moon reaches Ascending Node at 04:38 UTC (00:38 EDT).
SEPTEMBER 14 (Mon) – Apogee Moon occurs at 11:00 UTC (07:00 EDT on the 17th) where the Moon is at its furthest point from Earth in its current orbit and will be subtending at 29’ arc minutes from a distance of 406,464 km (252,565 mi).
September 17, 1976: Space Shuttle Enterprise rolled out at Palmdale. Star Trek cast on hand for the event.
September 18, 1947: Happy Birthday to the United States Air Force (USAF).
September 18, 1977: Voyager 1 captures the 1st ever image of Earth and Moon together.
September 19, 2015: International Observe the Moon Night! http://observethemoonnight.org/
SEPTEMBER 20 (Sun) – LUNAR-X also known as the PURBACH or WERNER CROSS is scheduled to begin forming the “X” around 14:00 UTC (10:00 EDT). The Lunar-X is the big, more prominent brother to the Curtiss Cross. This “X” is created by shadowing throughout the rims and ridges of craters LaCaille, Blanchinus and Purbach. The “X” formations occur along the terminator (where “day” meets “night” across the Moon). It typically begins just after first quarter when the Moon is approximately 53% illuminated.
SEPTEMBER 21 (Mon) – First Quarter Moon is the Moon watchers paradise. Occurring at 09:00 UTC (05:00 EDT), First Quarter Moons and the waxing crescent phase leading up to it offer some of the most visually stunning views the Moon has to offer. Most of us will take the beautiful curves, valleys and shadows of a 1st Quarter Moon over a Full Moon ANY day. Though the quarters of the Moon occur at exact times, as far as viewing goes you can call it the entire night and be close enough.
SEPTEMBER 21 (Mon) – MAGINUS SUNRISE RAY will occur around 09:46 UTC (05:46 EDT). At the right times and as the Sun rises over the Crater Maginus (Near the terminator) a beautiful sun ray shines through a break in the craters eastern wall. The result is a vast triangle or “V” formation of light cast upon the crater floor for a period of a few hours. Maginus Crater (Named after Italian astronomer Giovanni Antonio Magini) is a pre-Nectarian impact crater located in the southern lunar highlands and to the south east of Tycho Crater. It’s 110 miles (177km.) and has been extremely eroded by subsequent impacts on or near the site through the millennia. Its selenographic coordinates (Definition below) are Latitude: 50.5°S / Longitude: 6.3°W.
SEPTEMBER 21 (Mon) – Pico Mons Sunrise occurs the night of or the night after first quarter (around 62% illuminated) the rising Sun hits Pico Mons in Mare Imbrium, near Crater Plato and casts a long shadow along the lunar plains.
SEPTEMBER 21 (Sun) – Sunrise on the lunar scarp; Rupes Recta or the “Straight Wall” is visible the night of or the night after first quarter (around 60% illuminated) the rising Sun causes it to look black as its shadow is cast. Two weeks later, during lunar sunset it will appear white.
SEPTEMBER 21 (Mon) – The Moon is at its Greatest Southern Declination of -18.08 degrees.
September 21, 1866: Birth of H.G. Wells.
September 22, 1791: Birth of Michael Faraday.
SEPTEMBER 23 (Wed) – Autumnal Equinox! Fall Begins!
September 24, 1970: Luna 16 returns from the Moon with samples. 1st lunar sample return.
SEPTEMBER 27 (Sun) – The Moon reaches Descending Node at 21:04 UTC (17:04 EDT).
SEPTEMBER 27-28 (Mon) – The Full Moon will occur at 02:51 UTC (22:51 EDT on the 27th). Though the quarters of the Moon occur at exact times, as far as viewing goes you can call it the entire night and be close enough. (Name information provided by The Farmer’s Almanac). Full Corn Moon or Full Harvest Moon – This full moon’s name is attributed to Native Americans because it marked when corn was supposed to be harvested. Most often, the September full moon is actually the Harvest Moon, which is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October. At the peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of this Moon. Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice the chief Indian staples are now ready for gathering.
Total Lunar Eclipse!!!: This full moon is also whats called a supermoon. In fact, it’s the closest of the three full supermoon’s in 2015. In addition, this full moon is also a total lunar eclipse which will end this particular tetrad (4 total lunar eclipses in a row). What’s that mean? This will be amongst the biggest total lunar eclipses you can witness! Here’s my write up on this eclipse: https://danspace77.com/2015/08/29/extra-large-lunar-eclipse-coming-in-september/
Full Moon Note: Many people actually find observing the Full Moon through a telescope or binoculars almost painful due to its brightness. One way that we curb this issue (at least in telescopes) is with neutral density filters. ND filters range anywhere from 20% light block to 80% light block and they’re pretty cheap. I don’t usually use them but I have a 50% on hand in the event someone needs it. Just be careful because for some companies, an ND25 means 25% of the light is blocked while some mean 25% of light passes through so make sure before you buy.
SEPTEMBER 28 (Mon) – Perigee Moon occurs at 02:00 UTC (22:00 EDT on the 27th) and is when the Moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit. It will be subtending at 33’arc minutes from a distance of 356,877 km (221,753 mi).
September 29, 1901: Birth of Enrico Fermi.
September 30, 1882: Birth of Hans Geiger.
SEPTEMBER 30 (Wed) – Leaving the month the Moon is 18 days old in its 29.53 day Synodic Cycle and 92% illuminated in its waxing gibbous phase.
***Definition of LIBRATION (basically) – Is an oscillation of an orbiting body relative to another. OK, so…We know the Earth/Moon system is tidally locked so we always see the same side of the moon. Due to libration, we ACTUALLY see about 60% of the Moon instead of what you may intuitively think of as a 50% measurement. That’s because the Moon oscillates slightly as it rotates and orbits Earth. So, on occasion and with a keen eye we can see a little further “around the corner” north, south, east and west on the moon by a couple degrees.
***SUBTENDING Explained – Definition: The angle formed by an object at a given external point. The moon subtends an angle of approximately 0.54° (32 arc minutes) to an observer on the Earth. Of course, the moon’s orbit is not constant or exactly circular, so this varies a little, but not by very much. If you hold up your thumb at arm’s length, you can easily cover the full moon. This means your thumb subtends a larger angle to your eye at arm’s length than the moon does at 380,000 kilometers. In general, the closer you are to a particular object the larger that subtending angle.
***SELENOGRAPHIC COORDINATES Defined – Selenographic coordinates are used to refer to locations on the surface of Earth’s Moon. Any position on the lunar surface can be referenced by specifying two numerical values, which are comparable to the latitude and longitude of Earth. The longitude gives the position east or west of the Moon’s prime meridian, which is the line of longitude passing through the point on the lunar surface directly facing Earth. (See also Earth’s prime meridian.) This can be thought of as the midpoint of the visible Moon as seen from the Earth. The latitude gives the position north or south of the lunar equator. Both of these coordinates are given in terms of degrees. Astronomers defined the fundamental location in the selenographic coordinate system by the small, bowl-shaped satellite crater ‘Mösting A’. The coordinates of this crater are defined as: Latitude: 3° 12′ 43.2″ South / Longitude: 5° 12′ 39.6″ West. The coordinate system has become precisely defined due to the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment. Anything past 90°E or 90°W would not be seen from Earth, except for libration, which makes 59% of the Moon visible.
NASA | Moon Phase & Libration Northern Hemisphere 2015:
NASA | Moon Phase & Libration Southern Hemisphere 2015:
2015 Moon phases with TIMES: http://www.calendar-12.com/moon_phases/2015
2015 Moon phase & illumination calendar: http://www.calendar-12.com/moon_calendar/2015/october
2015 Perigee & Apogee DATES, TIMES & DISTANCES as well as Full & New Moon dates & times (John Walker’s Fourmilab): http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/pacalc.html
2015 Perigee & Apogee: http://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/distance.html?year=2015&n=156
Lunar Ray predictions: http://www.lunar-occultations.com/rlo/rays/rays.htm
Farmer’s Almanac Full Moon Names: http://www.farmersalmanac.com/full-moon-names/
Lunar ASCENDING & DESCENDING Nodes: http://astropixels.com/ephemeris/moon/moonnodes2001.html
Greatest NORTHERN & SOUTHERN Declinations of the Moon (Richard Nolle’s Astro Pro): http://www.astropro.com/features/tables/cen21ce/mo-dcl-2015.html
FULL YEAR of Lunar Cycles: Previous and Future years as well: http://kalender-365.de/lunar-calendar.php?yy=2015
Full & New Moon Calendar: http://www.moongiant.com/Full_Moon_New_Moon_Calendar.php
Sun/Moon Rise & Set times: http://www.40-below.com/sunmoon/
Sun/Moon Rise & Set times for the DAY: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.php
Sun/Moon Rise & Set times for the YEAR: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneYear.php
BLUE MOON Calendar: http://www.moongiant.com/Blue_Moon_Calendar.php
SUPERMOON Calendar (Richard Nolle’s Astro Pro): http://www.astropro.com/features/tables/cen21ce/suprmoon.html
Moon Phases for ANY date: http://www.moonpage.com/
NASA GODDARD Moon NOW: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a004100/a004118/
Moon right NOW: http://www.calculatorcat.com/moon_phases/phasenow.php
Moon right NOW: http://www.die.net/moon/
Moon right NOW: http://www.calendar-365.com/moon/current-moon-phase.html
NASA JPL Ephemeris Calculator: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/?horizons
Lunar Ephemeris Calculator: http://www.lunar-occultations.com/rlo/ephemeris.htm
Sunrise & Sunset CHART: http://sunrisehour.com/sunrise-sunset/united_states/boston_ma
Kilometers (km) to miles (mi.) converter: http://www.metric-conversions.org/length/kilometers-to-miles.htm
2015 Astronomical Events: http://www.astropixels.com/ephemeris/astrocal/astrocal2015pst.html
Occult Software: http://www.lunar-occultations.com/iota/occult4.htm
Greatest Elongations of Mercury & Venus: http://www.jgiesen.de/skymap/MercuryVenus/
Steve Preston’s Asteroid Occultations: http://www.asteroidoccultation.com/2015-Best-Events.htm
US Naval Observatory Celestial Phenomena for 2015: http://asa.usno.navy.mil/
Seiichi Yoshida’s Weekly bright Comets: http://www.aerith.net/comet/weekly/current.html
International Meteor Organizations 2015 Information: http://www.imo.net/
Satellite Tracking: http://www.stoff.pl/
NASA Eclipses: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html
S&T Jupiter 2015 Observation Almanac: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/a-jupiter-almanac/
S&T Galilean Moon Mutual Events: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/sky-and-telescope-magazine/beyond-the-printed-page/mutual-events-jupiters-satellites-201415/
Northern Virginia Astronomy Club: Jupiter Moon Events for 2015: http://www.novac.com/wp/observing/jeffscorner/next-years-galilean-moon-events/