September Skies 2018

Viewing almost straight up in Denver at 9:00 PM on September 15th. Telrad circles are shown positioned to put NGC 6871 near the center of a finderscope field, after centering on Eta (η) Cygni and slewing toward Sadr. From here, a 1° slew to the southeast (perpendicular to the swan’s “neck,” or the line from Sadr to Albireo) will get the cluster in or near your low-power eyepiece field. Note position of Eta Cygni at trailing edge of the 4° Telrad circle. Also note the dotted line showing the alignment of M29, Sadr, and Omicron1 Cygni.
The Cygnus Rift, illustrated above, is an area of dust and gas that obscures the Milky Way’s stars and nebulae. It is the same type of structure as the “dust lanes” often seen in edge-on galaxies.
–Object positions, constellation and meridian lines charted in SkySafari, and then enhanced. (Tap on image above for larger version.)

© Zachary Singer

The Solar System

If you’ve been watching the sky after sunset in August, then you’ve likely noticed the striking vista of four bright planets—Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars—lined up from southwest to southeast. Even without a telescope, their sweep makes a memorable view, and the arrangement will continue well into September Continue reading “September Skies 2018”