And now for the last four questions in our astronomy quiz (answers at the end of the article — and don’t cheat!).
1. By what process does our sun or any other star produce light and heat?
2. What are binary stars?
3. What are variable stars?
4. Daily, about how many hours apart are the high tides on Earth? And what two astronomical objects most influence tides?
September brings the autumnal equinox, the first day of fall, on Sept. 22. It also ushers in cooler temperatures, and the famous Harvest Moon on Sept. 8.
Mars and Saturn have “passed” one another in Libra, our only evening “stars,” and by month’s end, Saturn will be too close to the evening twilight to easily see. Jupiter and Venus are the morning “stars,” but Venus is lost to the morning twilight early in the month. But don’t despair — by December, it’ll be back as an evening “star.”
The swath of our own Milky Way galaxy “splits” the evening sky from north to south all month long. Zodiac constellations include Aquarius (the water carrier), Capricorn (the goat) and Sagittarius (the archer). Overhead are Cygnus (the swan) and the Northern Cross, and Pegasus (the flying horse).
See you next month!
Quiz answers:
1. Hydrogen to helium fusion. As a star ages (not our sun), it fuses helium to the next lightest element, and so on.
2. Double star systems. Astronomers say that most of the stars you see in the sky are binary stars. The first on discovered is Mizar, at the bend in the Big Dipper’s handle.
3. Stars that vary in brightness. There are a number of types, some of them long-term and some short-term.
4. About 12 hours apart. The sun and moon (particularly when full or new) contribute to the pull of the tides.