The Visible Planets
Mercury is not easily visible this month from our latitude as Mercury appears very low along the western horizon at sunset, setting slightly after or with the Sun. Observers in the southern hemisphere will have a much better placement of Mercury.
Venus continues to shine brightly in our eastern predawn sky all month long. During the twilight morning hours of September 14, look for the waning crescent Moon just to the east of bright Venus. In addition, on September 14 another special alignment occurs as you can see Venus in the foreground to the faint cluster of stars in constellation of Cancer, the crab, known as the beehive cluster. Binoculars would be required to view this pairing of Venus with this faint cluster of stars.
Mars rises along the east-northeast horizon shortly after sunset and is found high in the southwestern sky at sunrise. Mars is now approaching its point of opposition and is hence getting much brighter in our evening sky, changing from a magnitude of -1.8 at the start of the month to a magnitude of -2.5 by the end of the month. Mars will be spending the entire month in the lower southern portion of the constellation of Pisces, the fish. Look for the waning gibbous Moon very near Mars on the night of September 5/6. Mars will provide some excellent views through a telescope this month. Visit the RASC Observatory on weekends this month to get your best view of Mars. You will have to wait until the year 2033 to get an equivalent view!
Jupiter continues to shine brightly low along the southern sky in the constellation of Sagittarius, the archer. Jupiter continues to be a highlight of observing at the RASC Observatory into the fall/winter period. Jupiter and Saturn are continuing to approach one another as seen from the Earth, getting closer to each other every day. This will culminate into a very close conjunction of these two worlds later this year on December 21. Watch for a nice conjunction on September 24 and 25 with Jupiter, Saturn and the waxing gibbous Moon.
Saturn is seen low above the southeast horizon at sunset, setting in the southwest about three hours later. Saturn is in the constellation of Sagittarius, the archer, and is seen just above and to the east, of the handle of the asterism of the “teapot”. The waxing gibbous Moon can be seen very near Saturn on the evening of September 25. Saturn continues to be one of the highlights of evening observing at the RASC Observatory into the fall/winter period.
September 1 Full Moon (The Harvest Moon or Corn Moon)
September 10 Last Quarter Moon
September 17 New Moon
September 23 First Quarter Moon
International Space Station (ISS) Observable Passes
During the month of September there will be several favourable passes of the ISS. From September 1 to September 11, the ISS visible passes will all take place in the morning hours before sunrise. From September 16 onwards, the ISS visible passes switch to our early evening sky. Check the website http://www.heavens-above.com for exact viewing times for your location.
September 7 Labour Day holiday
September 11 Neptune at opposition
September 14 Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (Edmonton Centre) Meeting Tonight.
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
in the Zeidler Dome at the TELUS World of Science-Edmonton
Free event, all invited!
Venus is located below the waning crescent Moon (predawn eastern sky)
September 9 Mars is stationary
September 15 to 20 Northern Prairie Star Party 2020
Black Nugget Lake, AB
September 22 Fall equinox occurs at exactly 7:31 a.m. MDT
September 24 Conjunction of the first quarter Moon with Jupiter and Saturn (large triangle).
September 25 The lunar straight wall is visible this evening. Check it out at the RASC Observatory!
September 26 International observe the Moon night.