15 September 2021 | Tourismus

Exploring the wonders of the Universe

Join us as we once again tour our universe. Here are a few highlights you can witness in the coming weeks.

September 13: First quarter moon (22.39). From our point of view, the moon is half-illuminated. At 01:59 the moon will be near the star Antares. Antares is a bright Red Giant and the best known star in the constellation Scorpius.

September 14: Mercury at its Greatest Eastern Elongation (05:59). The planet closest to the sun will be at its farthest distance from the Sun in the evening sky - a good time to spot Mercury.

September 17/18: The moon will be very close to the two gas giants in our solar system. On September 17, the moon will first pass closely by Saturn (04:37) and a day later, will be close to Jupiter (08:50).

September 22: September Equinox (21:21). The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This is also the first day of spring (vernal equinox) in the Southern Hemisphere and the first day of autumn (autumnal equinox) in the Northern Hemisphere.

Planet visibility: All naked-eye planets (Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn) as well as the other “telescope planets” - with the exception of Uranus - will be visible throughout September at dusk. Mars will only be visible at that beginning of the month.

Focus point: In the search for a new potentially habitable world, astronomers recently identified a new class of planets, reports Astronomy. In the past, astronomers focused on Earth-like planets orbiting stars which are similar to our Sun. The planets should be rocky, be similar in size to our Earth and warm enough for water to exist in liquid form. Researchers have now identified a new class of planets which they say are more abundant too; the new candidates are ocean worlds larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune and they are called “Hycean”.

A lot of information contained herein stems from the Sky Guide Africa South, a handbook published annually by the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa.

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