Astronomy

September Skies
Evening Planets:
Venus is the 1st planet visible in the evening sky at Dusk in the WSW sky. Venus is losing altitude each evening and is getting lower into the bright Dusk twilight. The planet is becoming badly situated and harder to observe as the month progresses. At the start of the month, Venus sets about 90 minutes after Sunset. By the end of the month, it barely stays up about 40 minutes before setting. Towards the end of the month, the planet has an increase in brightness. During the first few days of September, Venus will be near the bright star Spica. After that Venus will slowly move toward Jupiter. This is the last full month that we will have Venus in the 2018 evening sky.
Jupiter is up in the SSW as evening darkness falls. As the month progresses, Jupiter loses a bit of brightness and altitude. Each evening, Jupiter is slowly moving towards the bright Dusk twilight.
Saturn is up in the South as the evening darkness falls. The planet also loses a bit of brightness as the month progresses. The planet is now setting around Midnight.
Mars is low in the SSE as evening twilight fades. The planet suffers a dramatic drop in brightness as the month progresses. This drop in brightness will affect the intensity and hue of its orange yellow color. Mars fine evening display is slowly coming to an end.

Morning Planet:
Mercury, the sole bright morning planet will be visible in the ENE about 35 minutes before Sunrise during the first week of September. During that week, the planet will lose altitude and brightness fast. By 10 September, the planet moves quickly into the bright glow of the oncoming Sunrise and is lost from view.

8 Sep Thin Crescent Moon just above bright star Regulus, Dawn
12 Sep Crescent Moon upper right of Venus, Dusk
13 Sep Crescent Moon upper right of Jupiter, Dusk
16 Sep 1st Quarter Moon right of Saturn, Dusk
19 Sep Waxing Gibbous Moon above Mars, Dusk
22 Sep Autumn Equinox
29 Sep Waning Gibbous Moon just above bright star Aldebaran, Late Evening

Venus:
On 21 September, Venus will be at her brightest for this evening showing. Despite this brightness, the planet will be very low on the horizon and will only be visible for a short period of time. Planet watchers with binoculars may see the shiny crescent phase of Venus. At that time, Venus is not that favorable for our viewing area.

Last Quarter Moon:
As we approach the autumn season, this is a good time to observe the Last Quarter Moon. The times near the Autumn Equinox are very favorable for observing the Last Quarter Moon. At Dawn on the morning of 3 September, the Moon will be favorable for our viewing area. This Moon will be in the Constellation of Taurus and will be very high in our skies. This is a good time to check out the Last Quarter Moon with a telescope. This favorable Moon is a prelude to next month Last Quarter Moon fine display.

Written by
Gary T. Nowak
Vermont Astronomical Society