Skywatch Line for Wednesday, August 31st and Thursday, September 1st, 2016

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, August 31st and Thursday, September 1st written by Louis Suarato.

The 1% illuminated, waning gibbous Moon rises at 5:28 a.m. Wednesday. The New Moon occurs at 5:03 a.m. Thursday. September will have two New Moons, the second occurring on September 30th. The second occurrence of a New Moon in the same month is known as a Black Moon. A Black Moon is also referred to the third of four New Moons in a season. The next Black Moon of this type will occur August 21, 2017. A Black Moon can also refer to a month without a Full Moon. This can only happen in the month of February, and will next occur in February of 2018.

Venus and Jupiter are separating, and are 4 degrees apart. You’ll require a clear western horizon at sunset to see these two planets. In the south-southwest, Mars, Saturn and the star Antares form an isosceles triangle, with Mars and Saturn separated by 6.1 degrees, Saturn and Antares are also 6.1 degrees apart, and the distance between Mars and Antares at 4.9 degrees.

130 years ago Thursday, the first photo of the Ring Nebula was taken by Eugene von Gothard. In 1886, Gothard photographed the central red-dwarf star of the Ring Nebula, also known as M57. M57 is a planetary nebula in the constellation Lyra. A favorite target of amateur astronomers, the Ring nebula was formed when ionized gas was expelled into the interstellar medium by its central star during its last stage of evolution. Look for the Ring Nebula between the stars gamma Lyrae and beta Lyrae and to the left of Lyra’s brightest star, Vega.

Star Parties will be hosted, weather permitting, by the Albany Area Amateur Astronomers, this Friday and Saturday night at the Landis Arboretum in Esperance, NY. Directions to the arboretum can be found at

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