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THE SKY THIS MONTH: Harvest Moon early this year

This year’s Harvest Moon will be earlier than normal — Sept. 8. It’s the first full moon close to the autumn equinox, which marks the arrival of autumn on Sept. 22 at 10:29 p.m. That’s when the centre of the sun’s disk crosses the Earth’s equator and marches southward every day for the winter.
This year’s Harvest Moon will look spectacular and will be an outstanding photographic opportunity. It will have a yellowish hue due to the Earth’s atmosphere. Many people will be convinced that it looks huge as it rises low in the eastern early evening sky. Its orbit is also closer to the Earth making it similar to last month’s super moon, which was marginally bigger and brighter. You can also see the Harvest Moon Sept. 7 and 9.
Here are September stargazer events. Most are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar.
Planet watching
Mercury is low in the south eastern evening twilight sky. Venus is low in the eastern dawn sky early in the month. As it moves lower in the sky later in the month, it’s lost in the glare of the sun. Mars is seen low in the western evening sky setting mid-evening. Jupiter is low in the morning sky. Saturn is low in the southwest evening sky setting mid-evening. Uranus rises mid-evening. Neptune can be seen all night.
Sept. 2: First-quarter moon.
Sept. 12: Hamilton Amateur Astronomers meeting 7:30-9:30 p.m., Hamilton Spectator, 44 Frid St. Free admission with door prizes and everyone is welcome. An optional food bank donation of non-perishable goods will be collected. I will be the guest speaker and will discuss “A brief look at astronomical history and beyond.”
Sept. 20: The crescent moon is close and below Jupiter in the dawn sky.
Sept. 21: sun light reflecting off dust particles in the solar system known as Zodiacal Light can be seen in the eastern dawn sky from a dark location for the next two weeks.
Sept. 27: The crescent moon is close to Saturn in the evening sky.
Sept. 29: The moon is close and above Mars in the evening sky.
For more information, see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers website at amateurastronomy.org or call 905-627-4323. The club offers a basic astronomy course for members. Mario Carr, the author of this report, is the club’s director of publicity and can be reached at mariocarr@cogeco.ca.

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