In September, you can not only see the Milky Way in the sky, but you can also see many planets. “Earth Night” is particularly suitable for observation.
FRANKFURT – If that’s not reason enough to look up at the starry sky: in September, the dark nights will be noticeably longer again, and you can see the stars in the sky earlier again because darkness falls faster. One night that might be worth looking at the stars is September 15th “Earth Night”. The initiative, launched by the non-profit organization “Godfathers of the Night,” calls for lights to be turned off throughout the night, starting at 10 p.m. at the latest.
Earth Night always falls on the Friday in September closest to the new moon, and in 2023 it falls directly on the new moon. If too many lights are turned off, light pollution will significantly obscure the view of the stars. This is also the goal of the initiative, which aims to draw attention to the ever-increasing problem of light pollution.
Starry sky in September: dark nights and the Milky Way
Dark nights in September are also a good opportunity to observe the Milky Way. The milky band that gives our home galaxy its name stretches across the entire sky — from northeast to south, where the Milky Way’s center is in the constellation Sagittarius.
The summer constellations can still be seen, and the autumn constellations are emerging
The starry sky has changed little compared to August. Typical summer constellations such as the Swan, Lyre and Eagle, whose bright stars form the “Summer Triangle”, can still be seen in the sky, but the first autumn constellations are already appearing in the east. For example, the large Pegasus constellation can be seen in the east from the beginning of September. Three of Pegasus’ four main stars, along with the star Sera (the constellation Andromeda), form the Autumn Quadrantid – a striking square constellation of four bright stars.
The constellation Pisces lies beneath Pegasus – and is difficult to see due to its faint stars. The same applies to the autumn constellations Aquarius and Capricorn, both of which consist of many weak stars and do not rise very high above the horizon.
Starry sky in August: Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn can be seen
As for the planets, not much has changed compared to the August sky: Venus, Jupiter and Saturn are still visible, while Mars is currently invisible. Mercury joins for a few days and is visible for a short time before sunrise. “The best opportunity is from September 22 to 27, in the morning from 6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. on the eastern horizon,” explains Sven Melchert of the Friends of the Stars (VdS) association. fr.de from IPPEN.MEDIA. Melchert also has a tip for finding Mercury: “At a slightly higher level, the brighter Venus shows the way.”
Venus can be seen prominently as the morning star until the end of the year. It can be spotted in the eastern sky in the hours before sunrise. This is not difficult because Venus is the brightest planet in the night sky. On September 19, it shines brightest in the morning sky. Anyone observing Venus with a telescope can see a large, narrow crescent (11 percent illumination) at the beginning of September; At the end of the month, the crescent is smaller and wider, with an illumination ratio that now stands at 36 percent.
Jupiter and Saturn can be seen almost all night in September
In contrast to Venus and Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn can be seen in the sky almost all night. Jupiter is the brightest planet in the sky after the morning star. It rises earlier and earlier throughout September – on the first day of the month at 10:11 p.m., and on the last day of the month at 8:15 p.m. The ringed planet Saturn can already be seen in the sky at sunset. Its brightness decreases throughout September.
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The Moon will visit the two gas giants throughout the month – expert Melchert has two observing tips: “If observing Mercury is too early or too tedious for you, we recommend visiting the Moon near Jupiter on the evening of September 4.” . On September 6, the moon will be in Saturn.
With a little luck, you can see meteors in September
With a bit of luck, you can also see meteors in September, but you should not expect to spot as many meteors as in the extreme Perseids in mid-August. Shooting stars from the Alpha Aurigids, Epsilon Perseids, and Piscids can only cause isolated shooting stars.
After there are two full moons in August and the second, called the “blue moon,” falls on August 31, the September full moon does not appear in the sky until the 29th of the month. This month’s full moon is traditionally called the “Autumn Moon” or “Corn Moon.” A full moon that occurs closest to the equinox is also called a harvest moon. In 2023, the sun will cross the celestial equator at 8:50 a.m. on September 23 – the day of the equinox and the beginning of the astronomical autumn season. (unpaid bill)
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