BBC Sky at Night Magazine


- With Glenn Dawes Try and follow Jupiter and Venus into daytime, and enjoy a dark-sky view of Capricornu­s

When to use this chart 1 Sep at 24:00 AEST (14:00 UT) 15 Sep at 23:00 AEST (13:00 UT) 31 Sep at 22:00 AEST (12:00 UT)


Jupiter can be seen during daylight, just look up. Well, not quite, as finding it is the trick. In the afternoon of the 25th the crescent Moon will be 1° from Jupiter, both fitting in the same binocular field. Once found, try it with the unaided eye. Although brighter, Venus presents the same challenge. The planet rises pre-dawn; try following it into daylight. On the 14th, the Moon makes a good marker. With either of these challenges, for comfort and safety, always stand in a building’s shadow.


Mercury commences a favourable evening return; for the later half of September it’s well above the western horizon during twilight, spending much of this period within a few degrees of the bright star Spica. The early evening also


This month we visit the constellat­ion of Piscis Austrinus. Eta (e) Piscis Austrini (RA 22h 00.8’, dec. –28° 27’) is an impressive double star, with mag. +5.8 and +6.8 components, only 1.8” apart. A high power is needed to see these touching blue stars.

About 3° south of Eta lies a group of galaxies, four easily fitting in the same field. The most southern member is NGC 7176 (RA 22h 02.1m, dec. -31° 59’). This

The chart accurately matches the sky on the dates and times shown for Sydney, Australia. The sky is different at other times as the stars crossing it set four minutes earlier each night.

STARS AND CONSTELLAT­IONS Capricornu­s, high in the northern evening sky, looks like a smile. Although invisible from suburbia this constellat­ion of faint stars is obvious from the country. It’s located in a mythologic­ally ‘fishy’ region of the sky. Unlike nearby Pisces and Piscis Austrinus, it doesn’t represent a normal fish but a Sea Goat. The story goes that the god Pan intended to jump into the Nile and turn into a fish, to evade a monster. He was too quick: his wet lower half turned into a fish’s tail and the top into a goat. sees Jupiter and Saturn up in the north, with Mars and Uranus rising and visible for the rest of the night. Neptune is at opposition and visible any time. The highlight in the morning is the beacon of Venus, low in the pre-dawn eastern sky. magnitude +11.1 elliptical is paired with another, NGC 7173, only 2’ northwest. To the north (6’ away) is the spiral NGC 7172, which is distinctiv­ely oval-shaped compared to the roundness of NGC 7173. Of the three, only NGC 7176 has a pronounced nucleus. To see the fourth galaxy you need to look closely at NGC 7176, which appears oval with the nucleus obviously offset eastward. Its western ‘halo’ is really the merging galaxy NGC 7174.

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