Society News and Night Sky Notes – September 1996

  • Sept 21st – 28th The 4th National Astronomy Week – major events up and down the country, details of Liverpool Events Here. (link removed as URL is invalid)
  • Sept 21st – First NAW open night at LAS Observatory at Pex Hill a great success, with clear skies, some 40 members of the public came to view the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Comet Hale-Bopp, and Neptune.
  • Sept 22nd – Autumn Equniox at 18:00h.
  • Sept 25th – Major Meteorite fall in Fermo, central Itay at 15:30UT.
  • Sept 26th – Saturn at opposition.
  • Sept 26th – Space Shuutle Atlantis returns home with Shannon Lucid who has been in space for 6 months, a record for a women.
  • Sept 27th – Total Lunar Eclipse. (Begins at 02:12 BST). Click Here.
  • Sept 30th – NASA’s International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) spacecraft is switched off to save money, after 19 years of astronomical studies from Earth orbit.


Will it be cloudy to-night?, ask the The British Met Office
To make you own star chart for your location at any time, Click Here for your Map

The SUN and MOON

All times are in (British Summer Time) B.S.T. For Observer in the Liverpool Region, Merseyside – England, U.K.

Latitude 53 degs 24 mins North
Longitude +3.O degs West

                2nd       7th       12th      17th       22nd     27th      Oct 1st
   SUNRISE        06:23     06:32     06:40     06:49      06:58     07:06     07:15   
SUNSET         19:59     19:47     19:35     19:23      19:11     19:58     18:46

The Sun reaches it Autumnal Equinox on the 22nd when, for the second time this year, the Sun crosses the Celestal Equator, this time moving Southwards on it’s journey along the ecliptic towards its Winter Solstice.


New Moon on 12th at 23h:08m
1st Quarter on 20th at 11h:23m
Full Moon on 27th at 02h:51m
Last Quarter on 4th at 19h:07m

Total Lunar Eclipse This Month

In the early morning hours of September 27th there will be a total Eclipse of the Moon, when the Moon enters the shadow cast into space by the Earth. The Moon will lie in the constellation ofPisces and first contact with Umbral is at 02:12BST as seen from Liverpool. Totality starts at 03:19mBST, when the Moon appears a Copper red colour,( the darkness of which will indicate how polluted the earth’s atmosphere is).Totality will end at 04:29BST and the Moon will appear whole again at 05:36mBST.


      Sept 27th     First Penumbral Contact        01h:12m:24s        alt 39 degs       Az 183 degs

      Sept 27th     First Umbral Contact           02h:12m:18s        alt 37 degs       Az 202 degs  P.A 92 degs

      Sept 27th     Totality Begins                03h:19m:18s        alt 32 degs       Az 221 degs

      Sept 27th     Maximum Eclipse                03h:54m:24s        alt 28 degs       Az 230 degs      Mag 1.245

      Sept 27th     Totality Ends                  04h:29m:24s        alt 24 degs       Az 239 degs

      Sept 27th     Last Umbral Contact            05h:36m:18s        alt 14 degs       Az 254 degs      P.A.233 degs

      Sept 27th     Last Penumbral Contact         06h:36m:24s        alt 06 degs       Az 266 degs



After reaching inferior Conjunction on the 17th Mercury starts off an excellent morning apparition at the end of the month, lying almost 9 degs above the horizon at the start of Civil Twilight on the 30th.


Lies almost directly above Mercury but 20 degs further up from the horizon. Venus is slowly fading in brightness although the difference will be impossible to detect through casual observation. More discernable are the changes in the planets phase and apparent diameter. From a cresent phase of 49′ of arc across in June, when the planet was starting its Morning apparition, it is now only 18″ arc arcoss and is showing a gibbous phase. On the 4th Venus is 3 degs South of Mars.


Together with Venus Mars is heading for a close conjuction with the “Beehive” M44 star cluster in Cancer the crab. Binoculars offer the best wide-field view but a telescope will show Mars and M44 in the same field on the 21st. Venus will pass just 2.5 degs South on the 14th. Mars will be a mere 30″ arc secs from M44 on the 21st. The Moon will join in on the nights of 7th, 8th and 9th.


Crosses the meriden at 21:00h on the 1st, (20h:10m on 30th) and its large apparent diameter of 40″ arc secs makes it a far more satisfying sight than either Venus at 18 arc secs or Mars only 4.5″ arc secs. Having resumed normal West-East motion, Jupiter passes by M22 again, this time on the 21st with the lst quarter Moon lying 5.5 degs to the North.

Jupiter was the centre of attention on December 7th 1995 after the NASA Galileo Spacecraft entered orbit around Jupiter. The orbiter will encounter Jupiter’s Moon Ganymeade on the 6th. The Galileo Homepage should keep you up-to-date with news and images returned.


Is at opposition on the 26th, its disk is half the diameter of Jupiter’s and its markings are nowhere near as pronouned. Steady seing conditions and very patient observing will enable the observer to see the subtle banding and transient markings such as white spots. If favourable placed Titan – Saturn’s largest Moon, may be viewed even with smallish telescopes. Large amateur telescopes will show more of Saturn’s system of moons. On the 27th Saturn is 3 degs South of the Moon.


Both are now disappering into evening twilight, but can be found low in South West sky between Capricornus and Sagittarius. Neptune will be celebrating its 150 year since its discovery this month.


Is Badly placed for observations at the moment.



15th                            Aplha Aurigids               10 per hour      Favourable (Moon New on 14th)

Click Here.

9th & 21st                      Piscids                       8 per hour      Fairly Favourable.

Click Here.




2nd Sept at 02h:13m Reappearance of E Arietis .
25th ” at 03h:01m Disappearance of P Aquarii .

27th Sept at 03h:30m Disappearance of star SAO 109078 takes place during Total Lunar Eclipse.
27th Sept at 03h:45m Disappearance of star SAO 109084 ” ” ” ” ” ”
27th Sept at 04h:28m Disappearance of star SAO 109078 ” ” ” ” ” ”
27th Sept at 04h:49m Disappearance of star SAO 109084 ” ” ” ” ” “