Skywatch Line for Wednesday and Thursday,September 13 and 14, 2023

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Wednesday and Thursday,
September 13 and 14, written by Alan French.

The Sun rises at 6:33 A.M. on Wednesday and sets at 7:09 P.M. On
Thursday it rises at 6:34 and sets at 7:07. This Thursday has 20 minutes
17 seconds less daylight than last Thursday.

The Moon will reach new at 9:41 P.M. Thursday, so the nights are now
dark and moonless.

While the internet provides a wealth of information on almost any
subject, it is still hard to beat the well vetted information in a fine
book. “The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide,” by Terence Dickinson and Alan
Dyer, is an excellent, thorough, and frequently recommended introduction
to amateur astronomy and telescopes. A new, fourth edition, revised and
expanded, came out two years ago.

The book begins with an introduction to the sky for the naked eye,
discusses getting to know the sky, and then covers using binoculars to
expand your enjoyment of the night sky, including some binocular sky
tours. For those who consider buying a telescope, the second part covers
telescopes and accessories and how to choose and use them.

The third section is “The Telescope Universe,” an introduction to what
to observe and how to observe celestial sights with a telescope. The
final, fourth, section is an introduction to astrophotography,
“Capturing the Cosmos,” a popular way to share the hobby with others. If
you have considered expanding your interest in the night sky, the book
is a great introduction to amateur astronomy.

Forecasts offer some hope of clear skies Wednesday, and a stronger
promise for Thursday night. Both nights offer chances to see the
International Space Station (ISS). The basic rule for spotting the ISS
is to look for a bright star gliding across the sky, it outshines all
the stars when well above the horizon.

Wednesday night’s pass of the ISS is late and the space station will
enter the Earth’s shadow and vanish before it gets high overhead. Look
for the ISS coming up from the southwestern horizon at 8:58 P.M., just
to the right of Scorpius, the Scorpion, low near the horizon. It will be
midway through Ophiuchus, 37 degrees high, and headed overhead at 21:00
. When 64 degrees high, just before 21:01, the ISS will move into the
Earth’s shadow and fade from view.

Thursday night’s pass of the ISS will be earlier, the skies will not be
as dark, and the station will cross most of the sky before moving into
the Earth’s shadow.

Watch for the ISS moving up from the southwestern horizon at 8:10 P.M.
At 8:11 it will pass just above Antares, the brightest star in Scorpius,
lying just 14 degrees above the horizon, a little south of southwest.
The path of the ISS will take it below Altair, 53 degrees above the
south southeastern horizon at 8:13:20. It will pass well above the
southeastern horizon, just before 8:14, headed east northeast. Just
after 8:15:30, above the east northeastern horizon, it will move into
the Earth’s shadow and disappear.