Astronomical Events – Fall 2015

There are many interesting things happening in the night sky this fall. Here is a quick guide to them:

September 13, 2015 at 12:55am MST: There will be a Partial Solar Eclipse, only visible near the South Pole. This is unfortunate for us, as it will not be visible here at ACC.

September 23, 2015: This is the autumnal equinox. On this day everywhere has 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. Neither the northern nor the southern hemisphere is more tilted towards the Sun. For the first time in 6 months, the sun is rising on the South Pole and for the first time in 6 months the sun is setting on the North Pole. There is a wives tale that on this day an egg can be balanced on its end. While, this is true for this day, it is also true for every other day, if you are talented at balancing things.

September 27, 2015 at 8:48am MST: There will be a Total Lunar Eclipse. If it is night at your location at this time then the eclipse will be visible. The entire process takes about 5 hours, but will only be obvious for 3 hours.

October 1, 2015: It is possible the Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina will be visible to the naked eye. It will continue to brighten over the next month.

October 21 & 22, 2015: The Orionids Meteor Shower will occur with up to 20 meteors per hour. While these days are the peak, the full shower runs from October 2nd until November 7th. These showers are caused by the left over dust grains from Hailey’s Comet. The shower will appear to originate from Orion, but can be seen in the whole sky.

Nov 5 & 6, 2015: The Taurids Meteor Shower will occur with up to 10 meteors per hour. While these days are the peak, the full shower runs from September 7th until December 10th. These showers are caused by the left over dust grains from two objects Asteroid 2004TG10 and Comet 2P Encke. The shower will appear to originate from Taurus, but can be seen in the whole sky.

Nov 13 & 14, 2015: The Leonids Meteor Shower will occur with up to 15 meteors per hour. While these days are the peak, the full shower runs from November 6th until November 30th. These showers are caused by the left over dust grains from Tempel-Tuttle. The shower will appear to originate from Leo, but can be seen in the whole sky.

Dec 13 & 14, 2015: The Geminids Meteor Shower will occur with up to 120 meteors per hour. While these days are the peak, the full shower runs from December 7th until December 17th. These showers are caused by the left over dust grains from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. The shower will appear to originate from Gemini, but can be seen in the whole sky.

Dec 22, 2015: The Ursids Meteor Shower will occur with up to 10 meteors per hour. While these days are the peak, the full shower runs from December 17th until December 25th. These showers are caused by the left over dust grains from the comet Tuttle. The shower will appear to originate from Ursa Minor (the Little Dipper), but can be seen in the whole sky.

December 22, 2015: This is the winter solstice. The Southern Hemisphere is the most tilted towards the Sun and the Northern Hemisphere is most tilted away from the Sun. This means the Northern Hemisphere will have its longest night and the Southern Hemisphere will have its longest day.

Enjoy the Sky!
Jennifer Jones
ACC Astronomy Faculty