September 21st, 2015
Today is the southernmost first quarter Moon of the year. What does this mean? Well, leaving aside the scientific mumbo-jumbo, it means the Moon remains visible for quite some time after sunset in the southern hemisphere but will set quite quickly in the north.
For example, for Australian observers, the Moon will set about six hours after sunset, but for those in the United Kingdom it’ll only be visible for about three and a half hours.
Wherever you live, there’s one good time to see the first quarter when everyone can enjoy it: sunset. As the sun goes down, turn to the south as the first quarter Moon is always about ninety degrees to the east of the Sun in the sky. Take a few moments to enjoy the view through binoculars and look for where the sunlit edge of the lunar surface meets the unlit side. As the sun sets over your location on Earth, you’ll see craters half-lit by the sun rising over the surface of the Moon.
If you could stand on that surface, it would be sunrise and you’d see the Earth hanging in the sky, also half-lit, but not at first quarter. You’d see a last quarter Earth instead.
All Astronomical Events for September 21st, 2015
08:59 UT – First Quarter Moon. This is the southernmost first quarter moon of the year. (Naked eye, Sagittarius, evening sky. See images above.)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.
All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.
Astronomical events taken from 2015: An Astronomical Year, available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom. Sky simulations created using the Mobile Observatory app for Android devices.
2015: An Astronomical Year
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(Kindle & Paperback)
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