Constellations of the Month: Gemini, Cancer and Leo

David Baumgartner writes about changes in the sky and the upcoming Autumn Equinox.

This article was contributed by David Baumgartner as part of a local series on astronomy.

This month’s constellation of the month should be titled “Constellations that the Sun visits while heading for the Autumn Equinox.” I guess that will just have to do for now.

Since the summer solstice in June, the Sun has been moving along the part of the ecliptic that moves southward through constellations Gemini, Cancer, and Leo. So it has been slightly further south in the sky each day, and the days have been getting shorter. On Sept. 22 ( in some years Sept. 23) the sun comes to the second place where the ecliptic crosses the equator. This point is in Virgo.

At the moment of crossing the equator, the sun is overhead on the equator of the earth, so it is shining equally on the northern and southern hemispheres. And the days and nights are the same length, 12 hours each. (Equinox means “equal night”) After this, for us in the northern hemisphere, the days keep getting shorter and cooler, as winter approaches. 

The words fall and autumn mean the same. Nowadays Americans use fall and British people use autumn, but most of them understand the word used by the others are much the same.

Well there you have it, if you weren’t confused before you read this, you may be more so now. I’ve read a number of views on this subject, and they all seem to differ somewhat in their own way of telling the story. So now you have my version. See if you can come up with your own twist on the Autumn Equinox. 

Clear Skies.

September Sky Watch

Sept. 17: New Moon

Sept. 18: Moon is at perigee (223,123 miles from Earth)

Sept. 18: Moon passes 6° north of Mercury

Sept. 22: Autumn Equinox occurs

Sept. 23: First quarter Moon

Sept. 25: Moon passes 1.6° south of Jupiter

Sept. 25: Moon passes 2° south of Saturn

Sept. 29:  Moon passed 4° south of Neptune


David Baumgartner

I am a local fella. Local schools from Fremont, Sacred Heart, Santa Anita, Hollister High, to San Benito Jr. Collage (Now Gavilan). Then joined the US Air Force where I specialized in Airborne Radar. Married my high school sweetheart JoAnne., shortly after three children arrived; Cindi, Michael, and Lisa. Somehow we ended up with nine Grandchildren.  Went on to San Luis Obispo, Guesta, Collages, and on to Univ. of New Mexico. Came back to Hollister. Opened up Three Pet Stores; Dave's Aquarium Pets & Supplies in SLO, Watsonvile, and Hollister. The family spent two and a half years running a ranch up in Oregon. Made our way back to Hollister.  Got my Real Estate Licence in 1982, opened my own office in 93'. In the mean time raised Swans and revitalized my old hobby of Astronomy.  In 2001 I was named Chamber of Commence Man of the Year. I think I was the only one nominated. I don't care, I'm taking it. Now in December of 2018 I retired. Not sure if I was forced out or not. Non the less, I am retired, at 77 years of age I think it was time. Now the last thing I have to do is buy a coffin. I hear COSCO sells them now. But the only drawback is; you have to buy them in lots of six.  I guess I could buy them for the whole family. Not that funny, but thrifty.