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Astronomical Events for September

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 Evening Planets:
                Mercury continues with its worst evening showing of the year. It is so low in the SW and stuck in the bright glow of the Sunset that it can't be seen with the unaided eye. Even with Mercury's furthest position from the Sun on 21 September; the planet sets about 20 minutes after the Sun.

                Saturn is also low in the SW as evening twilight fades. Each evening, Saturn sinks a bit lower into the bright twilight. By the end of the month, Saturn is setting just as evening darkness falls.

                Mars manages to hold its position in the SW at Dusk. Because of Mars eastward movement; the planet manages to set about 3 hours after Sunset all month long. The planet apparent size is shrinking more and its brightness continues to fade as the month progresses. On the 27th and 28th of September, Mars just passes above the bright star Antares.

                The next few months are going to be tough times for planet watchers with telescopes. There are no bright planets that are favorably placed for telescopic observations in either skies (Evening or Morning)

Morning Planets:

                Jupiter now rises as Dawn breaks in the East. The planet rises well before Venus. It will take a few months before Jupiter will be in a favorable position for telescopic observation.

                Venus is very poorly placed in the East. The planet rises in bright twilight and is very low on the horizon. Each morning, Venus rises later, and moves closer to the glare of Sunrise. By the end of the month, Venus will be lost in the glare of the oncoming Sunrise. After that Venus won't be visible for a while. We'll have to wait until next year to see Venus in a favorable position.

5 Sep Venus just left of bright star Regulus, Dawn (not favorable)

8 Sep Big Full Moon

20 Sep Moon lower right of Jupiter, Dawn

22 Sep Autumn Equinox

27 Sep Crescent Moon lower right of Saturn, Dusk

29 Sep Crescent Moon above Mars, Dusk

September's Big Full Moon:

                On the evening of the 8th of September; the 2nd largest Full Moon of the year will happen. This Full Moon is only 0.5% less than the “Super Full Moon” which happened on 10 August, 2014. The rise of the September “Big Full Moon” should produce some pleasing landscapes.

September's Minor Meteor Showers:

                On the nights of 21-23 September, two small minor meteor showers could produce a few, scattered meteors. These two minor showers are the Kappa Aquarids and the Alpha Aurigids. The Kappa Aquarids are known for its very short, faint meteors. The Alpha Aurigids are known for its fast meteors which sometimes leave a trail. Don't expect much from these 2 minor meteor showers; consider yourself lucky to see 5 meteors per hour total from both of these minor showers. The Moon will be a tiny crescent in the Dawn sky and will not be a problem. Next month we will finally have a major meteor shower that won't be interfered by the Moon.

Written by

Gary T. Nowak

Vermont Astronomical Society

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