Mercury is in a terrible position in the WSW sky at Dusk. The planet is extremely low in the Bright Dusk twilight and sets about 45 minutes after Sunset. Mercury has a very short observing window from 1 -7 September. Even during this short observing window; Mercury will be next to impossible to see with the unaided eye. After the 7th, Mercury sinks into the bright glow of Sunset and is lost from view. This is the worst evening showing of Mercury for the year.
Venus is a little bit better off than Mercury. The planet is in the WSW and stuck in the bright Dusk twilight. The planet can’t seem to gain much altitude during the month. Despite Venus low altitude position, Venus does gain a bit of brightness as the month progresses. The planet will basically remain in this poor evening position for the next three months.
Saturn is up in the SSE as evening darkness falls. The planet loses a bit of brightness as the month progresses. Saturn is on the western side of the dim star constellation of Capricornus. The planet will remain visible in a rather low position in the evening sky through autumn.
Jupiter is also up in the SSE as evening darkness falls. Jupiter follows Saturn across the sky. Jupiter just like Saturn also loses a bit of brightness as the month progresses. Jupiter is on the eastern side of the dim star constellation of Capricornus. Jupiter will also be visible in the evening sky through autumn.
There are no bright morning planets visible.
5 Sep Venus above bright star Spica, Dusk
8-9 Sep Epsilon Perseids Minor Meteor Shower
9 Sep Two-day old Crescent Moon to the upper right of Venus, Dusk
12 Sep Almost a First Quarter Moon above the bright star Antares, Dusk
15 Sep Waxing Gibbous Moon, Saturn, Jupiter form a rough line, Evening
16 Sep Moon below Saturn, Evening
17 Sep Moon below Jupiter, Evening
22 Sep Autumn Equinox
28 Sep Last Quarter Moon
Epsilon Perseids Minor Meteor Shower:
September’s only meteor shower which is not going to have lunar interference is the Epsilon Perseids. This weak, minor meteor shower will happen on the night of 8 -9 September. The Epsilon Perseids are sometimes known by their nickname “The September Perseids”. However, the Epsilon Perseids are not like the well know major meteor shower “The August Perseids”. The Epsilon Perseids are predicted to produce about 5 meteors per hour throughout the night. Despite the weak predicted performance of this minor meteor shower; this meteor shower is favorable for our viewing area.
September’s Quarter Moons:
The month of September offers us two Quarter Moons for observations; one is unfavorable, the other one is favorable.
September First Quarter Moon on the 13th is unfavorable. The 1st Quarter Moon position in the sky is one of the lowest of the year and that makes it unfavorable for observation especially in a telescope.
September Last Quarter Moon on the 28th is just the opposite of the 1st Quarter Moon. This Last Quarter Moon is one of the highest positioned of the year and that makes it favorable for observations especially in a telescope.
September’s Quarter Moons are positioning themselves to set the stage for October’s Quarter Moons. Next month’s Quarter Moons will be in extreme sky positions; both good and bad.
Gary T. Nowak
Vermont Astronomical Society