West Rand Astronomy Club

30 September 2015 @ 19H00:

West Rand Astronomy Club Meeting

  • Dutch Reformed Church,
  • 844 Corlette Avenue, Witpoortjie
  • Presentation By:   TBA
  • Topic: TBA
  • October Night Sky News and Events

Cost: Donation of R10 for the use of the venue which includes tea and coffee.

Telescopes will be set up for viewing (weather permitting). Members are encouraged to bring along telescopes, you can bring along observation sheets and any of your favourite astronomy books for discussion. Ask questions, share information and enjoy!

 5 September 2015 from Sundown:


171 Bartlett Street, Honingklip. (Not far from the Silver Casino).

  • Co ordinates: 26 01 12 S….27 47 93 E    -26.018810 , 27.798910
  • New members welcome. Bring own meat and salads, drinks (Please limit the alcohol), cutlery, crockery and a chair.
  • If weather looks suspect please check WRAC website from 3:15pm. on the Saturday to confirm if stargazing is still on.

On Line Shopping and walk in shop



On Earth, our most important celestial object is our star, the sun. Man cannot live without the warmth of the sun nor its light, which gives us our day, chlorophyl for our plants and therefore, it affects our food as well.

Though the sun is a star, the sun’s motion is not the same as that of stars that shine at night. Our day is based on the motion of the sun and not the stars because the sun takes a full 24 hours to circle the celestial sphere instead of 23hours and 56 minutes.

In March and September the Equinoxes occur. the sun’s path then follows the celestial sphere and rises directly east and sets directly west allowing us to have equal day and night. In the southern hemisphere, the Spring Equinox takes place 21/22 September while our  Autumnal Equinox is  over 22/23 March.

According to NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory a solar flare erupted on 24 August. A solar flare occurs when magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released. Some are lucky to see this when radiation therefrom reacts within Earth’s magnetic field, creating our Northern Lights.

Solar eclipses are a totally separate issue and totally different. People on Earth know about Solar Eclipses, of which there are 4 different types. People often  travel around the world to see a total solar eclipse when the occasion arises.

Solar Eclipse:

13 September is the date when South Africans may be able to see a partial solar eclipse. In our area, Johannesburg, the eclipse will be visible between 6:43 to 8:34 am. Please visit the  www.moonshadowmix.co.za website for a fill in of all the details you require.

The eclipse starts at one location and ends at another. The times below are actual times (in UTC) when the eclipse occurs.

Event UTC Time Time in Johannesburg*
First location to see partial eclipse begin 13 Sep, 04:40 13 Sep, 06:40
Maximum Eclipse 13 Sep, 06:52 13 Sep, 08:52
Last location to see partial Eclipse end 13 Sep, 09:05 13 Sep, 11:05

NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN WITHOUT PROPER PROTECTION.eclipse-solar-10-23-2014-Brownsville-TX-Mikael-Linder-300x228



Lunar Eclipse:

Amateur Astronomers we are in luck! In the early hours on 28 September we also have a lunar eclipse for those who will venture from their beds!

Lunar eclipses look approximately the same all over the world and happen at the same time.

The times displayed might be a minute or two off actual times.

Event UTC Time Time in Johannesburg* Visible in Johannesburg
Penumbral Eclipse begins 28 Sep, 00:11 28 Sep, 02:11 Yes
Partial Eclipse begins 28 Sep, 01:07 28 Sep, 03:07 Yes
Full Eclipse begins 28 Sep, 02:11 28 Sep, 04:11 Yes
Maximum Eclipse 28 Sep, 02:47 28 Sep, 04:47 Yes
Full Eclipse ends 28 Sep, 03:23 28 Sep, 05:23 Yes
Partial Eclipse ends 28 Sep, 04:27 28 Sep, 06:27 No, below horizon
Penumbral Eclipse ends 28 Sep, 05:22 28 Sep, 07:22 No, below horizon





Sunrise and Sunset:

September 2015              Sunrise                 Sunset                Day Length

1   September                          6:56                       17:55                            11:01

10 September                          6:58                       17:59                           11:01

20 September                         6:00                      18:03                           12:06

30  September                         5:48                       17:41                           12:07

• Never look at the sun without proper protection.

• Looking at the sun through a telescope or binoculars without the necessary equipment or protection Will Blind You.

Moon in september:

  • New moon                           13 September            at 08:41
  • Full Moon  and eclipse     28 September            at 04:51


Planets in September:

The five visible, naked eye planets are in good view in September this year.

  • Saturn:   in good view in September shining visibly above at nightfall and grandly seated in front of the head of Scorpius. From there it will be moving gradually westward disappearing in the early hours of the morning.
  • Venus:  once more Venus will be showing its brilliance in the east before sunrise, from after midmonth onwards.
  •  Mars:   will be following closely in the vicinity of Venus from mid-month onward
  • Jupiter:   shines brightly once again, before dawn following in the vicinity of Venus. Jupiter is the second brightest planet after Venus and will be showing its brightness after mid-month. Watch the dawn skies for this.
  • Mercury: The innermost planet nearest the sun will be the best we have seen of it on the 31 August.

SaturnSaturn was photographed by Neil Viljoen using an iPhone 6 and holding it to the eyepiece of a 6″ refractor telescope.

 Deep-sky objects:

  Nebulae:  B59 Sink Hole dark nebula in Ophiuchus

Globular clusters:

Messier 4  globular cluster in Scorpius

Messier 5 globular cluster in Scorpius

Messier 6 & 7  star clusters in the tail of Scorpius

Messier 44 Beehive cluster

NGC 5823 in Circinus

NGC 6025  in Triangulum Australis

The Coal sack and the Jewel box near the Southern Cross and Omega Centauri.

Our spring stars:

Interestingly, in the northern part of our sky there is a notable pair. Pegasus, the flying horse, which looks like a square and bordering that, the Andromeda Constellation. In fact, a corner star that used to be known as Delta Pegasi in constellation Pegasus is known as Alpha Andromeda today, belonging to the Andromeda Constellation. They are so close so do look out for them, low in the northern night sky.

The other stars marking off the Pegasus Square are Alpha Pegasi also known as Markab. Gamma or Algenib and Beata, also known as Scheat. Epsilon Pegasi or Enif is a well known bright orange giant, marking the Pegasus muzzle. All these stars have   a magnitude between 2.37and 2.45 and therefore easily visible to the naked eye.





 Meteor Showers:

Visibility or the observing prospect is  unfavourable to poor. So, if possible, look for the occasional wishing star!!



Comet Catalina c/2013 US10 may be visible through binoculars and with the naked eye about mid-November. Please click on link below for more detail and other interesting features.

 Satellite movement:

Satellite movement can be viewed on:



All your photographs are uploadable on our WRAC website and your photos are memories worth keeping, so share happiness with others.


While we are approaching our typical summer weather. A little reading matter will titillate the mind.

The SA  Sky Guide 2016 will soon be available, by now we should all have the SA Sky Guide 2015.

The Stars of the Southern Skies by Patrick Moore.

Google any information you want on Wikipedia and

the Universe Today.com.



Starry side up! and warm thoughts.

West Rand Astronomy Club

Regards Wrac.