Astronomy

September

Evening Planets:
Venus technically moves into the evening sky. However this planet is very poorly positioned and will be extremely hard to see. By the end of the month, you may catch a short glimpse of this planet extremely low in the West and stuck in the bright glow of early evening twilight. The planet Venus will be in this very poor position for the next two months.
Jupiter is low in the SSW at Dusk. The planet is losing altitude each evening. Jupiter dims a bit as the month progresses. By the end of the month, Jupiter sets around 10 pm.
Saturn follows Jupiter across the sky by about 2 hours. This planet shares the same problems as Jupiter. Saturn fades a bit as the month progresses. This planet is also slowly losing some altitude.

Morning Planets:
There are no bright morning planets visible during the month of September.

5 Sep First Quarter Moon, Jupiter, and bright star Antares form a triangle, Dusk
7 Sep Waxing Gibbous Moon right of Saturn, Evening
13-14 Sep Full Harvest Moon
20 Sep Waning Gibbous Moon right of bright star Aldebaran, Dawn
22 Sep Last Quarter Moon
23 Sep Autumn Equinox
26 Sep Thin Crescent Moon left of bright star Regulus, Dawn

Septembers Smaller Harvest Moon:
When the Full Harvest Moon rises in the early evening of Friday, 13 September, some folks may notice something a bit different with this Moon. This Harvest Moon is a bit smaller and slightly dimmer than a normal Full Moon. This Moon will also be a bit lower in the sky than other Harvest Moons. These effects are caused by the Full Moon being very near its farthest point from Earth. The lower Moon position in the sky is also caused by the tilt of the Moon’s orbit in respect to Earth. The Moon position being farther from Earth than normal causes the Moon to appear a bit smaller and dimmer. October’s Full Moon on 13 Oct will suffer a similar fate... This effect is short lived however. By the time of the December’s Full Moon; that Full Moon will be back to normal size, brightness and riding high up in the sky.

Septembers Fine Last Quarter Moon:
September Last Quarter Moon does not share the same fate as the Full Harvest Moon. This Last Quarter Moon puts on a fine display. On the morning of the 22 September; this is the best showing of the Last Quarter Moon for the year. Early morning risers before the Sunrise will see a fine Last Quarter Moon displayed high up in the sky.

Gary T. Nowak
Vermont Astronomical Society