Babe Among the Stars: Black Moons and Cosmic Dancing

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Galaxy Babe's column banner, showing a full moon and some little folk looking up at the sky

Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth - Ptolemy

Black Moons and Cosmic Dancing

Coming up this month in the eastern time zone is a so-called 'black moon', which is a second new moon in a calendar month. Thanks to different time zones, Europe's black moon will occur in late October. There's also cosmic dancing between the Sun and Moon which can only be seen from our vantage point on planet Earth. This beats anything from Strictly Come Dancing. How lucky we are!

September 2016 Diary Dates

This month there is an annular solar eclipse, that's when the Moon passes in front of the Sun when the Moon is smaller, and there is a glorious 'ring of fire' from the background Sun. Unfortunately for the rest of the world it's only visible from Africa. We're sure to see plenty of images though, here's a previous one from APOD. The Sun and Moon continue their cosmic dance later in the month when they come together again for a penumbral lunar eclipse. Luckily this will be viewable from Europe, Africa, Asia and Australian regions (see local astronomy websites for details). There is a perfect description and image of the penumbral shadow at APOD.

  • 01: New Moon
  • 01: Annular solar eclipse
  • 02: The Moon passes 6° north of Mercury
  • 02: The Moon passes 0.4° north of Jupiter
  • 03: The Moon passes 1.1° north of Venus
  • 06: The Moon is at apogee
  • 08: The Moon passes 4° north of Saturn
  • 08/09: Epsilon Perseid meteor shower
  • 09: The Moon passes 8° north of Mars
  • 10: All four Galilean moons will be on one side of Jupiter
  • 15: The Moon passes 1.2° north of Neptune
  • 16: Full Moon - the Harvest Moon
  • 16: Penumbral lunar eclipse
  • 17: All four Galilean moons will be on one side of Jupiter
  • 17: Venus passes 3° north of Spica (alpha Virginis)
  • 18: The Moon is at perigee
  • 18: The Moon passes 3° south of Uranus
  • 20: All four Galilean moons will be on one side of Jupiter
  • 21: The Moon passes 0.2° north of Aldebaran (alpha Tauri)
  • 22: Autumnal equinox (Northern Hemisphere)/Spring equinox (Southern Hemisphere)
  • 29: The Moon passes 0.7° south of Mercury
  • 30: 2nd New Moon of the month (a Black Moon) [8pm EDT]

  • Chat about your celestial observances at the H2G2 Astronomy Society. Comment on anything in this edition of Babe Among the Stars by starting a new conversation below.

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