Celestial events in the skies for the week of Sept. 5-11, 2017 as compiled for The Loafer by Mark D. Marquette.
The month of September was the seventh in the old Roman calendar that began with March. Thus, the Latin numbers septem, octo, nova and dice obviously denoted the order of the year. Then July came from Julius Caesar and August from Augustus Caesar, and the rest is still part of our history.
Tuesday, September 5
Monday was Last Quarter Moon, leaving the evenings dark. Golden Jupiter and white Spica team up in the evening twilight all week, and they are all but below the horizon by 8:30 pm.
Wednesday, September 6
Saturn is directly south at 9 pm, situated in the 13th constellation of the Zodiac, Ophiuchus the Serpent Handler. The fake science of astrology does not recognize Ophiuchus (pronounced Oh-FEW-u-cus) as a member of the Zodiac. But there it is, the classical fifth planet of horoscopes for millennia, smack dab between Scorpius to the right and Sagittarius to the left.
Thursday, September 7
On this 1995 date in space history, STS-69 launched Space Shuttle Endeavour for 11days of science and practice on construction techniques for the International Space Station. Five years later construction was underway in orbit.
Friday, September 8
On this 2000 date in space history, STS-106 Atlantis was launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida. A crew of seven brought up supplies and readied the first two segments of the International Space Station for its first permanent crew in November 2000. Also “launched” on this date in 1966 was the sci-fi television show “Star Trek.”
Saturday, September 9
On this 1994 STS-64 Discovery was launched with six astronauts on an 11-day mission of engineering and science experiments. And in 2006, Atlantis was launched with six astronauts on a hard-hat mission to the International Space Station. The six-day mission was packed with three space walks that installed a port side truss and two solar panels.
Sunday, September 10
The gibbous Moon rises just before midnight, so that leaves plenty of time to trace the Summer constellations. Directly overhead is the Summer Triangle of Deneb (north side), Vega (middle) and Altair (south side). Yes, it’s still Summer until Friday, Sept. 22 at 4:02 pm!
Monday, September 11
On this 1997 date in space history, Mars Global Surveyor began orbiting the Red Planet. Its mission ended in November 2006 after nine years in orbit, scouting landing sites and mapping the planet. Currently there six active Mars orbiters: Odyssey, NASA, since 2001; Mars Express, European Space Agency, 2003; Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA, 2006; Mangalyaan, India, 2014; MAVEN, NASA, 2015; and ExoMars, ESA and Russia, 2016.