September 2019

Venus might make you wonder how it earned its reputation as such a great evening “star” this month. Indeed, it can be high in the evening sky for months at at time. This month, it’s barely above the horizon. A few clouds, hills, or buildings will block your view. That said, the best views from from near the equator. Look for Mercury, also barely making it into the evening sky after conjunction on the 4th, to join Venus around the 11th. Even those with the best views must try to see them within a half hour of sunset, because that’s about how long the planets will be above the horizon. Binoculars will help, and even then, Mercury will be a hard find. Venus will be obviously brighter.

Saturn and Jupiter in September 2019

Jupiter remains between Scorpius and Ophiuchus close to the meridian at sunset. Saturn is a little farther east on the other side of Sagittarius.

Around the 11th, a few lucky observers may see that Mercury has become an evening object and is very close to Venus while the western sky still glows from the recently set sun. Those near the equator will have the best view, but they’ll have to look within a half hour after sunset before the planets go below the horizon too. Binoculars and a clear horizon will be necessary.

Mars is too close to the sun to see this month. In fact, it’s in conjunction on the 2nd.

Neptune at opposition, September 2019

The best chance to see Neptune in 2019 is this month. It’s at opposition on the 10th. A nearly full moon will make the distant blue dot that is Neptune hard to see. But the good news is that Neptune doesn’t move much. You can wait a week or two for the moon to be below the horizon at least part of the night for a better view of the eighth planet.

The autumnal equinox is at 07:50 UTC on the 23rd.

Notable conjunctions: the moon is 7.1° from Spica on the 2nd, the moon is 7.5° from Antares on the 5th, the moon is 2.3° from Jupiter on the 6th, the moon occults Saturn on the 8th, Mercury and Venus are 0.3° apart on the 13th, the moon is 2.6° from Aldebaran on the 20th, the moon is 5.9° from Pollux on the 23rd, the moon is 3.1° from Regulus on the 26th.

Moon phases: first quarter on the 6th, full on the 14th, last quarter on the 22nd, new moon on the 28th.

The moon goes south of the equator on the 1st, reaches southern lunistice on the 8th, goes north of the equator on the 15th, and reaches northern lunistice on the 23rd. It crosses the equator going south again on the 29th.

Lunar apogee is on the 13th at 406,500 km. Perigee is on the 28th at 357,800 km.

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