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Planets in morning view in September

Planets in morning view in September

Mercury will be very low in the E morning twilight in September. Venus will be low in the E in the morning twilight. Mars will be very low in the E during twilight late in the month. Jupiter will be very low in the W soon after sunset but will be lost in twilight mid-month. Saturn can be seen low in the SSW at dusk and sets in the WSW near 11pm.

Starting in September the Sunshine Coast Astronomy Club will present our autumn lecture series featuring visiting astronomers and a variety of interesting topics. On Friday September 8, Christa Van Laerhoven will speak at the Arts Center in Sechelt beginning at 8pm. Her topic will be “major migrations: rearranging the solar system.”

Van Laerhoven is a postdoctoral fellow at UBC and has worked on various projects that involved doing data reductions, verifying candidate Kuiper Belt objects, performing astrometric measurements and astronomical imaging.

The Kuiper Belt is a disc shaped region of icy bodies including dwarf planets such as Pluto and comets beyond the orbit of Neptune. It is probably populated with hundreds of thousands of icy bodies larger than 100km (62 miles) across and an estimated trillion or more comets. The first Kuiper Belt object was discovered in 1992 by astronomer Gerard Kuiper.

On September 11, it will be 50 years to the day that Surveyor 5 made the first soil analysis of another planetary body, our moon. On September 18, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Regulus and the moon will form a straight line in the morning twilight.

On September 5, Planet Neptune, the blue giant planet will be at its closest approach to earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Neptune. Due to its extreme distance from earth it will only appear as a tiny blue dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.

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