The Moon begins this month just two days past new, so will present a tiny sliver in the western evening twilight. On the evening of the 5th, Jupiter will be 2 degrees south of the Moon. Then Saturn and Pluto on the 8th are both involved in occultations, neither of which will be visible from the Northern Hemisphere. The Saturn event is worth watching for, though, as the Moon and the Ringed Planet will only be separated by 0.04 degrees—a very close conjunction! The Moon is full on the 13th, meets up with Uranus on the 17th, and is near the Messier object M35 on the 22nd. On the 24th, our satellite slides through the stars of the Beehive Cluster (M44). On September 28, the Moon is at perigee (closest in its orbit), resulting in high tides at coastal areas.
Mercury comes out from behind the Sun at mid-month and begins a long evening apparition. Better when viewed from more southerly locations, but still worth checking out at sundown.
Venus becomes the Evening Star also around mid-month, and hugging the horizon for the first few weeks. There’s a close conjunction of Mercury and Venus on the 13th, but very close to the Sun, so don’t try looking for them!
Mars is too close to the Sun to be seen.
Jupiter remains prominent in the southern sky after sundown. Watch for the Moon nearby on the 5th.
Saturn has been retrograding for a while and reaches its stationary point on the 18th, thereafter moving prograde (easterly). On the 8th, the Moon had a very close encounter, as mentioned above.
Uranus rises after midnight, so a target for only the most avid of skywatchers.
Neptune is in opposition on the 10th, so rises at sundown, crossing the sky all through the night.
Equinox is on the very early morning of Sept. 23.
The zodiacal light is visible in the east before morning twilight for the last week of the month. This phenomenon is a result of the Sun backlighting dust in the inner Solar System, aligned with the ecliptic.
James Edgar has had an interest in the night sky all his life. He joined The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in 2000, was national president for two terms, is now the editor of the renowned Observer’s Handbook, and production manager of the bi-monthly RASC Journal. The IAU named asteroid 1995 XC5 “(22421) Jamesedgar” in his honour.