This Session's Targets and How to Find Them

  • Pegasus (constellation)
    • East of the summer triangle, you will find a square of much dimmer stars known as the autumn square. This is the body of Pegasus. He's upside down, so his head and front legs point westward back toward the summer triangle. Visible until about February.
  • Andromeda (constellation)
    • Off the north-easternmost star of Pegasus' body, there is a line of stars extending northward that looks like it could be a back leg. That's Andromeda! Visible until about March.
  • Delta Cep (double star)
    • A tricky target, because you have to find the constellation Cepheus and that constellation is not part of the Explore the Universe program. Find Cassiopeia first (the W / M constellation) and use the last 2 stars on the side closest to the summer triangle to point up towards a faint square of stars (Cepheus). Once there, Delta Cep is beside the top corner star of Cepheus that is closest to Pegasus. Along with all these challenges, you also need tripod-mounted binoculars to see it. It's extra cool though because not only is it a double star, it's also a Cepheid variable star... and happens to be THE star after which Cepheid variables are named.
  • Venus (planet)
    • Visible early in the morning to the east before Sunrise conjuncting with Regulus, the bright star in Leo, on October 2nd. They'll be really close together, and Venus is extremely bright so should be easy to spot. Definitely worth a look in binos to see the conjunction. But it's early in the morning. Throughout this program, Venus has been rising in the morning and this is the only time in the program where there's really an excuse to get up early, so if it's clear, get out there! It'll be visible in the morning until about December/January.
  • Mars (planet)
    • East after sunset, bright and orange, and not near anything else terribly significant. It should be really easy to spot because of how bright and red it is! It'll be highest and brightest in the sky on October 6th, at conjunction on October 13th, and visible until about May/June but will get significantly dimmer and smaller over that time.
  • Orbital Motion (planet)
    • Another observation you can make for Explore the Universe is to plot the movement of a planet. Mars is an excellent target, since it's at the centre of our collective attention, and there are lots of maps for its orbital motion available online if you'd like to compare your findings. Head out for 3 nights (in a row, or within about 2 weeks) and plot Mars against the background stars to see how it has moved.


Last modified: 
Monday, September 28, 2020 - 9:43am