Starwatch for September 2019
Written by Karl Hricko on September 6, 2019
Hello! I’m Karl Hricko of United Astronomy Clubs of NJ and the National Space Society, bringing you the September Starwatch for WNTI.oRG
Although you never see a cow jump over the moon, you can see milk spilling out of a teapot. Actually it’s the constellation Sagittarius seen in the shape of a teapot. The milk is really the Milky Way which runs through this constellation. One common explanation of this hazy white path is that it is smoke rising to the heavens from sacrificial offerings.
The Egyptians believed that it was stalks of grain that their goddess, Isis, threw into the sky. In India, it was known as either the Bed of the Ganges, or the Path of the Serpent. Chinese lore explains it as a heavenly river, where the mothers of the Sun and Moon bathed their children before they placed them in the sky. To the Eskimos, it was the snowy path of the Great Raven. One account in Greek mythology describes it as a flow of milk produced by a herd of cows represented by the stars.
Today, we know it to be a densely packed collection of stars, nebulae, star clusters, dust and gas. It represents the center of our galaxy which hides a super massive black hole.
Closer to us, in our realm of space, we have our planetary neighbors. Only two of our naked eye planets are visible this month. Jupiter still shines brightly in the night sky, if you look to the south-southeast in Scorpius. To its left, at the same time, you’ll see Saturn in Sagittarius.
So this month, at a dark sky site, see if you can find the flowing Milky Way, and watch the celestial passage of our visible planet worlds across the night sky.
Until our next Starwatch – Don’t forget to check out … What’s up in the Night Sky!