September 2015 – Stargazing

September sees the nights get darker earlier and earlier which is great news for stargazers! The September or autumnal equinox occurs in Glasgow, Scotland on at 09.22 on 23rd September 2015. This is one of two points in the year (the other is in March) when the Sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly the same. Summer is long gone and we’re now entering autumn in the northern hemisphere!

The Night Sky

Get your bearings by finding Polaris (the North Star). The Plough (also known as the Big Dipper) is an asterism of 7 stars that look like a saucepan that’ll guide you to Polaris. Polaris appears stationary with the rest of the sky revolving around it and it’s direction will lead you almost due North. Behind you is South when facing it, to your right is East and to your left, West. It’s not the brightest star in the sky, but certainly one of the most useful for navigation.

The Summer Triangle is an asterism made of three prominent stars, visible from the Northern Hemisphere over the summer months. Vega, Deneb and Altair are the brightest stars in the constellations, Lyra, Cygnus and Aquila respectively and easy to spot, often even in the light-polluted cities and towns given a cloud-free night.

The ‘W’ of stars that form the core of the constellation, Cassiopeia helps stargazers point towards the Andromeda galaxy, some 2.4 million light years away from us – it’s the farthest object you can see with the unaided eye. Given good clear skies, away from the city lights you should be able to make out the fuzzy blob of the galaxy without binoculars or a telescope.

The overhead night sky from Glasgow, UK at midnight on 13th September 2015. Made using Stellarium

The overhead night sky from Glasgow, UK at midnight on 13th September 2015. Made using Stellarium

Sunrise and Sunset times, Glasgow

  • 5th September 2015 – Sunrise 06:29 Sunset 20:02

  • 13th September 2015 – Sunrise 06:44 Sunset 19:41

  • 21st September 2015 – Sunrise 07:00 Sunset 19:20

  • 28th September 2015 – Sunrise 07:13 Sunset 19:01

All the times listed above are local to Glasgow.

Moon Phases

  • Third Quarter – 5th September 2015, 10:54

  • New Moon – 13th September 2015, 07:41

  • First Quarter – 21st September 2015, 09:59

  • Full Moon – 28th September 2015, 03:50

Times listed above are local to Glasgow.

Be sure to look up often and enjoy your stargazing this September!

About Derek Shirlaw

I'm passionate about science communication, social media, and my home country, Scotland. In particular, I have a real interest in astronomy, digital marketing, and the great outdoors.
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