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Skywatch: Say goodbye to summer this week

We officially welcome the fall equinox on Tuesday.
Credit: The Young Moon

If you’re out early this week, go Young Moon hunting! A thin crescent will be visible in the western sky. Just above and right of the Moon you’ll see Arcturus, the brightest star in Bootes, the herdsman.

Credit: Faster Sunrises & Sunsets

If the sun seems to be rising & setting faster this week that’s because it is. Around the equinoxes (more on that in a second) the sun rises due east and sets due west. This mean’s it makes a steeper angle with the horizon so it rises & sets faster. In fact, the sun sets about 30 seconds faster on the equinoxes than it does on the solstices (which boast the longest sunrises & sunsets).

Credit: The Fall Equinox

Speaking of the seasons, the autumnal, or fall, equinox is on Tuesday, September 22 at 9:31 a.m. This is when the Sun will be directly overhead at the equator. It’s also the official end of summer and the beginning of the fall season.

Credit: The First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon arrives on Wednesday evening at 9:55 p.m. Look for the half-moon in the evening.

Credit: Planet Watching

Use that half-moon to help you find two planets later in the week. In the evenings around nightfall you can look in the southern sky and the Moon will be very close to Saturn & Jupiter. Above is how you’ll find the trio on Friday night. Happy hunting!