SEPTEMBER marks the beginning of autumn. Day and night will be of equal length on the 23rd when the sun will shine directly over the Equator. The late summer nights are ablaze with the three bright stars of the Summer Triangle. These are Vega, Altair and Deneb, which begin their slow descent to the west. Facing north and slightly towards the east is a pattern of stars shaped like the letter W, or a letter M when it crosses the meridian. This grouping of stars is the constellation Cassiopeia. The Queen, who together with Cepheus, the King, were placed side by side in the firmament by Poseidon, the god of the seas, for their treachery. Towards the south, the teapot-shaped constellation Sagittarius, together with the glowing centre of our Milky Way, starts to sink in the west. Rising in the southeast is a bright star, Fomalhaut, of the constellation Piscis Austrinus, the Southern Fish, which has no other bright stars. Fomalhaut is 22 light years away, twice the size of our Sun and 14 times more luminous. Twelve years ago, an infrared astronomical satellite detected a dust cloud surrounding Fomalhaut. This discovery led astronomers to believe a planetary system similar to our own is forming around Fomalhaut and that new worlds harbouring life could well be in the making. Perhaps, in the eons to follow, intelligent life on a planet orbiting Fomalhaut will also speculate whether the gift of life could have been bestowed on other worlds of distant suns. Jupiter is close to the first quarter Moon on the 2nd as well as a waxing Moon on the 29th. The first quarter Moon is on September 2 and full Moon on 9th, which coincides with the Mid-Autumn Festival. The last quarter is on the 17th and the new Moon on the 25th.