September 2013 astronomical events

¡SkyCaramba! Weekly astronomy blog for the week ending September 7, 2013

Venus is low in the west at sunset when September starts. It’s moving leftward each night and will be above the bright star Spica around the 5th. A crescent moon is left of the planet on the 8th. Saturn draws close to Venus until the ringed planet is above the goddess around the 13th and 14th. Venus continues to the left from there.

The Great Square of Pegasus is rising at sunset. Sagittarius is on the meridian.

Uranus, which will be at opposition on October 3, is rising at sunset too.

Jupiter is getting high in morning dawn. It’s in the middle of Gemini on the 1st with a waning crescent moon below it. Mars is further below and left. The red planet moves into Praesepe, or the Beehive, on the 9th. By that time, Jupiter has moved close to the star Mekbuda.

Mars continues heading toward the constellation Leo, more of which can be seen as September progresses. Meanwhile, Jupiter continues its movement toward a star named Wasat. The moon passes the big planet on the 28th. Then the moon is somewhat close to Mars on the 30th and on the 1st of October.

Mercury makes an appearance in the evening sky in late September. The messenger will be at aphelion on the 25th. Its greatest elongation next month will be good for southern hemisphere views. Northern hemisphere sky watchers may find it acceptable, although not as good.

The September equinox will be on the 22nd at 20:45 Universal Time.

The moon will be new on the 5th, cross the equator going southward the next day, and reach first quarter on the 12th on the same day it’s at southern lunistice. Lunar perigee is on the 15th. The moon will be full on the 19th when it’s on the equator heading north. Northern lunistice is on the 26th and a last quarter moon will be seen the next night. Apogee occurs on the 27th.

People in the Middle East and eastern Europe who watch the waxing crescent moon and Virgo’s bright star Spica will see an occultation on the evening of the 8th. Watchers from ships in the southwest Atlantic Ocean will seen the moon cover Venus.

Some other notable conjunctions this month include Venus and Spica on the 6th 1.6° apart, Saturn and the moon 2.3° aprt on the 9th, the ringed planet and Venus 3.5° on the 18th, and the moon by Aldebaran 2.7° away on the 25th.

The first discovered asteroid, Ceres, is at perihelion on the 15th. It will be a little less than 2.6 earth-sun distances from the sun.

There’s your list of things to start looking for. ¡SkyCaramba!